Skip to main content

Full text of "Fabric of my life, the autobiography of Hannah G. Solomon"

See other formats


The Autobiography of 

The Gift of Elaine S Allei 
Avner in Memory of their jiM 
Parents Herman 8, Pearl SeTOer' 
Sweital and Sim & Laura Moore 

^ University of Illinois 

f*: at Urbana-Champaign 





The Autobiography of 




"T/ie Jewish Book, Concern' 


Copyright, 1946, by 




"If we could see the whole fabric of our lives spread out 

What a wonderful weaving it might show; 

Many a thread that we thought lost would re-appear 

And form strange patterns of cause and effect. 

But God holds the spindle and until He cuts the thread 

We go on adding a bit each day." 

Theresa G. Lesem 




Illustrations ix 

An Appreciation of Hannah G. Solomon xi 

Foreword and Dedication xiii 


"Unto a Land That I Will Shew Thee" 3 

"Spreading Himself Like a Green Bay Tree" 10 

"Children Are a Heritage of the Lord" 19 

"How Shall We Sing the Lord's Song in a Foreign Land?" 29 

"A Goodly Heritage" 35 

"Thy People Shall Be My People" 46 

"We Will Show You a Thing" 53 

"Every Man to His Tents" 61 

"Behold, How Good and How Pleasant ... for Brethren to Dwell 

Together in Unity" 66 


"Have We All Not One Father?" 79 

"My Brother's Keeper" 92 

"Dream Dreams and See Visions" 101 

"Down to the Sea in Ships" 116 



"In Pleasant Places" 126 

"Let Us Take Counsel Together" 144 

"Is It Well With the Child?" 151 

"Man Doth Not Live by Bread Only" 160 

"Establish . ; . the Work of Our Hands" 166 

"Saying: 'Peace, Peace, When There Is No Peace' " 174 

"Through the Valley of the Shadow" 182 

"And, Behold, It Was Very Good" 192 

"Whence Then Cometh Wisdom?" 205 


"Three Score Years and Ten" 221 

"When the People Offer Themselves Willingly" 227 

"Before Honor Goeth Humility" 237 

"And My God Showed Favor Unto Me" 247 

"As a Tale That Is Told" 258 




1. Frontispiece 

2. "Children Are a Heritage of the Lord" 20 

3. My "Public Appearance Costume" 44 

4. And So — Henry and I Were Married 48 

5. Ten Little Greenebaums Grown Up 62 

6. The Three Solomon Children 110 

7. The Way We Looked to Europe 118 

8. The International Congress of Women 120 

9. I Wore White for Evening, Too 168 

10. Jane Addams Came to My Birthday Party 242 

11. The Council Triennial in 1938 251 



HANNAH G. Solomon was the foremost Jewish woman 
of this era. Devoted to the faith of her fathers and 
instinctively sympathetic in her understanding of human 
hearts and ideals, she rose to natural leadership in communal 
and national endeavor. 

The splendor of her vision is reflected in the numerous 
organizations which were created by her genius in our 
country and across the sea. Thus she became an inter- 
national figure. 

The Council of Jewish Women is her most distinguished 
achievement. It stands as her permanent service to the wel- 
fare of Jewish womanhood. 

She was appointed a member of The Women's Board of 
The World's Parliament of Religions, which was held in 
Chicago in connection with the Columbian Exposition of 
1893. As chairman of her committee, she proceeded to 
organize The Jewish Women's Congress. At that time, 
Hannah Solomon had an inspiration which resulted in the 
founding of The National Council of Jewish Women. 

She indicated her lofty conception of the tenets of our 
faith when she chose Religion, Education and Philanthropy 
as the cornerstones for building the Council. 

Hannah Solomon's devotion to religion was reflected in her 
rare spiritual conception of life, which impelled her course 
and imbued her with zealous strength. She pioneered for 


woman's place in the modern Jewish world. While she 
cherished the old thought, she ever welcomed the new. 

She gave her best efforts to every educational movement 
which concerned intellectual advancement. Determined in 
her search for truth, she wrote and spoke to bring enlightened 
ideas within the reach of all women. 

Philanthropy was her watchword. Not only did she plead 
for humanity and justice, but she brought hope to the dis- 
couraged and comfort to the bereaved. She consecrated her 
life to service which was distinguished by kindliness and 
understanding. She possessed a profound intellect, a rare 
enthusiasm and a lovable personality. Hannah Solomon 
labored for the benefit of mankind without a thought of self. 

The Council of Jewish Women will ever hold her name in 
reverence. This great organization which she founded is 
guided by her spirit to achieve high ideals and support 
righteous causes. It has thus become a living memorial to 
the spiritual faith and the magnetic leadership of 




WHY DOES ONE WRITE an autobiography? Chiefly for 
one's children and grandchildren, and it is at the 
insistence of mine that I begin this chronicle. All grand- 
mothers have a tale to tell, for not only is the world of their 
youth full of charm and quaintnes's to succeeding generations, 
but there is ever a persistent desire on the part of one's young 
followers to have portrayed for them the life in which their 
forebears have participated. Then, too, grandchildren possess 
great faith in their grandmothers, whose wisdom and accomp- 
lishments are apt to loom large. On the other hand, have 
not grandmothers a peculiar insight into the potentialities 
of their grandchildren? It is the grandmother who often- 
times discovers the embryo of the genius that is to be. Her 
imagination gallops into space where float the colors of the 
rainbow ending in the pot of gold, and in her dreams she 
hears heavenly choirs intoning sweet songs of triumph and 
success. But, if fame or fortune really comes, it is the grand- 
mother who has learned that the most enduring gratification 
results not so much from actual attainment as from the work 
in which there was participation with fellow-men, or in the 
consecration to and consistent eff^ort toward a noble goal. 
It is this mature realization that a grandmother desires most 
yearningly to leave as her special message to those who 
follow her. 

Thus, as I near my eighty-fifth birthday, I find I am glad 
to review the paths I trod, both for my grandchildren and 

[ xiii ] 

for my children who have lived through so many of my ex- 
periences with me, sharing gladness or sorrow as they came, 
and the richness of each. I write, then, with a stil! firm pen, 
for Frank and Helen Solomon, my son and daughter-in-law, 
who are a tower of strength to me and whose home is as my 
own, and for Helen Levy, my beloved daughter, who has 
been at my side through all her life in perfect and indispen- 
sable companionship. 

To my five dear grandchildren do I dedicate this book . . . 
to Betty, Henry and Frank Solomon, and to Frances Hannah 
and Philip Angel and their small Philip and Henry, my two 
delightful great-grandsons. 




"Seeking Wool and Flax" 


SHEW THEE . . ." 

(Genesis xii:l) 

WHERE DOES A BIOGRAPHY BEGIN? Docs the life story of 
an individual have its origin in the distant past and 
is any of that past crystallized in a new-born soul? Do we 
start our pilgrimage conditioned by patterns already ingrained 
and will the failures and the successes of an earlier generation 
and ancient preferences and prejudices play their part? How 
far do fate and chance mold our behavior and our lives? Is 
memory to be trusted, or has time, in passing, so obliterated 
the poignancy of experiences which distressed us or enhanced 
our joy that we are unable to record them in true proportion? 
Do we remember clearly those moments when inspiration 
was born through contact with rich minds; those in which 
courage was instilled and new insight kindled? Time, in a 
measure, blots out the tragic and the sorrowful that darken 
our lives for a space leaving, nonetheless, an irrevocable im- 
press. How especially fortunate that memories of the pleasant 
recur and stand out in bold relief! 

In Chicago, where I have lived eighty-four years, I have 
known five generations: the pioneers, among whom were 
numbered the contemporaries of my grandparents as well 
as of my parents, Michael and Sarah Greenebaum. Then 


followed my own generation, now overtaken by those of my 
children and grandchildren. My relatives and friends, my 
city and country, my heredity and the traditions of a foreign 
nationality and of the Jewish faith sum up the influences 
that shaped my early life. 

To the Jew, whether a voluntary or a forced immigrant, 
came the old call, "Get thee out of thy country . , . unto a 
land that I will shew thee." Many, of the pioneers' day, left 
Europe to escape religious persecution and to find freedom 
under a democratic form of government with a Bill of Rights 
as their shield; others departed to seek broader opportunities 
or to evade army service. All brought with them more than 
their bodily strength; they brought, in addition, talent and 
training and, oftentimes, wealth. 

My father, Michael Greenebaum, was the first member 
of his family to come to America, thus paving the way for 
all who later came from Eppelsheim, a small German village 
in the Rhine Palatinate, as well as for relatives from far and 
near. He had reached the age when he was subject to military 
service. As there was no war at the time, soldiers for the 
standing army were chosen by lot and Father was fortunate 
in securing a number that freed him from conscription. My 
grandfather, Jacob Greenebaum, relates the episode, thus, in 
a short autobiography he wrote in 1859, at the time of his 
fortieth wedding anniversary: 

"My Michael had learned the tinsmith trade according 
to his own wish, and he had worked for a time as apprentice 
after having learned his trade. His year of travel as a journey- 
man was due to begin as soon as he had completed his twen- 
tieth year and had been freed from conscription. Traveling 
as a journeyman is an absolute necessity for the artisan, with- 
out which preparation he would never be regarded as a 


worthy master of his trade. The conscription passed luckily 
tor him. In the meanti^me, he had planned with two young 
men, also Israelites, who were on the same train, to emigrate 
to America if they were freed from conscription. Michael 
agreed, on condition that his parents gave their consent. 
All three men really were freed. 

"Now Michael revealed his plan to us and bade for our 
consent, with the promise to return in four or five years. 
The matter seemed quite feasible as there were then hard 
times in Germany, and his dear Mother and I saw him, in 
our thoughts, wandering from city to city with his knapsack 
on his back. Therefore, we gladly yielded to his wishes, 
thinking to see him again at home in a few years. Preparations 
for his departure were begun and, after he had made for 
me quite a stock of stovepipe, he entered upon his journey 
in July, 1845. Parting was hard, but the hope of a reunion 
helped us to bear our sorrow. When we received his first 
letter, however, we began to relinquish hope of his return, 
for he wished that one of his brothers would come to him 
and wrote that it might probably be advantageous for us all 
to come later, planning emigration for us as a matter of 

Father remained in New York for about one year. He 
had not been very well, however, and thinking the climate 
in the west might prove beneficial, he set out for Chicago 
where, in 1847, we find his name recorded in Chicago's 
second city directory. Before Father's arrival there had been 
but few Jews in Chicago, the first city directory listing but 
four Jewish names: Benedict Shubart, Philip Newburgh, 
Isaac Ziegler and Henry Horner whose grandson and name- 
sake became the able and honored Governor of Illinois in 


Delighted with his choice of location, Father immediately 
recognized its possibilities and wrote back to Eppelsheim an 
enthusiastic account of this flourishing young city with a 
population of about twenty thousand which, because of its 
fortunate position at the head of one of the five Great Lakes 
was, he felt certain, bound to become one of the leading 
centers in America. 

So it was that in 1847 my father's older brother, Elias, 
succeeded in persuading his parents to permit him to join 
Michael "for a few years." Of Elias' departure my grand- 
father wrote, "We could not resist his pleading despite the 
fact that we had enlarged our business and needed him very 
much, especially as we were always tormented by the thought 
that his brother was alone in a distant country, and we yielded 
to his wish. In July, 1847, he entered upon his journey and 
there were again troublous times for us until we received 
a letter and were assured that both brothers were together. 
. . . Scarcely were the two boys together and settled in Chicago 
when they wrote that I should send their brother, Henry, 
with the promise to provide for his further education and to 
furnish funds for all his studies. This was asked repeatedly, 
and as I always complied with the wishes of my children 
insofar as I considered them to their own advantage, we at 
last fulfilled their request. We therefore took Henry out of 
school in 1848 and embraced an opportunity to let him 
travel, in September, with an estimable family from our 
town, which I would not have permitted if it had not been 
in the year of the revolution and I thought that this son, too, 
would be in a safe harbor for the present. As soon as he had 
taken his departure his dear mother and I began to repent 
of what we had done, and nothing in the world would have 
brought us again to this resolve if we could have had him 


back again. Restless days and sleepless nights now ensued 
in which our eyes were seldom free from tears. The reproach 
which my conscience always uttered, to have subjected a 
youth of fifteen to such dangers, brought me almost to despair. 
In this condition, we were obliged to wait three whole months 
until we received his first letter!" 

Thus, in 1848, were the three brothers, Michael, Elias 
and Henry, united in America! 1848 — a notable year in 
the annals of the Greenebaum family, surely, and one of 
great historic significance to Chicago, as well. On January 
fifteenth, the first telegraphic message was transmitted via 
Milwaukee to Chicago, and on October twenty-fifth, the 
first locomotive, comprising two cars and a tender, puffed 
importantly out of the city. 

My father was, at that time, a salesman in the hardware 
business of W. F. Dominick and Uncle Elias had found a 
position soon after his arrival in the Francis Clarke depart- 
ment store on Lake Street. Henry was to have studied law, 
but he was so intrigued by the opportunity of immediately 
entering into commercial life, that he joined my father at 
Dominick's, instead. 

It was in this same eventful year that the Moses Spiegel 
family came from Abendheim, in Germany, to make their 
home in New York. Regina, the wife of Moses, was the sister 
of my grandmother, Sarah Herz Greenebaum, and since 
Abendheim was not far distant from Eppelsheim, the Spiegel 
children and their Greenebaum cousins had known one an- 
other in Germany. The deep family feeling which was so 
marked a characteristic of my father, caused him to travel 
to New York, in the year 1850, to visit with his Spiegel 
relatives. There, to his delight, he found in his cousin, Sarah, 
the answer to a perhaps sub-conscious quest. At any. rate, 


the years proved it to be the happiest decision of his Hfe, for 
he returned to Chicago, bringing Sarah with him as his bride ! 
So, when Grandmother and Grandfather Greenebaum came 
to America, in 1852, they were welcomed not only by their 
three devoted sons, but by a new daughter, as well. 

My grandfather chronicles his decision to leave Germany 
in this fashion: "The dear mother yearned for her sons; the 
children who were still at home, for their brothers. As there 
could be no further hope of a return and my children would 
remain separated for all time, some in Europe, some in Amer- 
ica, I at last formed the resolve to accede to their wishes and 
go to America with all of them that they might live together 
in harmony with united strength. Although my business grew 
daily, I began in the year 1849 to prepare for departure and 
took three years to regulate my assets and liabilities. When 
my project became known, there arose on every side attempts 
to dissuade me. Everyone spoke of our prosperous condition 
and disapproved my leaving a safe harbor to go towards an 
insecure one." 

With my grandparents, then, there came to America my 
father's sisters and brothers, Jacob, Isaac, Hannah (who later 
became the wife of Gerhard Foreman), Babette (later Mrs. 
Abram Wise) and David. Uncle Henry had returned to 
Eppelsheim to bring the family over, and Grandfather tells 
us that "Henry arrived after a perilous journey. The Captain 
became insane during the journey and the ship was nearly 
wrecked, but through the help of Providence it was discovered 
in time to avert the threatening danger and Henry arrived 
safely at our home." Of the family hegira he wrote, "The 
beginning of July, 1852, we bade farewell to our old home 
. . . The sea voyage lasted thirty-eight days and was, on the 
whole, an agreeable one. There were three hundred and 


fifty passengers of the boat, among them about seventy Is- 
raelites." The daily occurrences of the voyage were noted 
in a ship's journal edited by Jacob, Henry and their friend, 
Guttman, and contained, according to Grandfather, "some 
comic incidents and may be read to this day by anyone in- 
terested." Obviously, the Greenebaum urge to write was 
present in all generations! 

Grandfather once said, "It may be seen that there was no 
necessity for emigration, in our case. Neither struggle for 
our existence nor anything that displeased us in our old 
home was the motive for this step." Later, however, he 
added this significant statement, "Although I enjoyed much 
there of which I am deprived, here, I have never for a moment 
desired to return!" 




(Psalms xxxvii:35) 

HOW WELL I REMEMBER our grandparents when, in later 
years, they hved on Hubbard Street! Their children 
had all married and Greenebaums occupied nearly the entire 
block of green-shuttered frame houses with surrounding gar- 
dens. We Michael Greenebaums dwelt on Union Street and 
there was, daily, a coming and going of grandmothers, grand- 
fathers, aunts, uncles and cousins, all of whom had followed 
my father to Chicago. In fact, it was at his advice that many 
of them left their homes in Europe to come to the America 
they loved and where they prospered. There were Uncle 
Jacob and Aunt Hannah with their trio, Harry, Milton and 
Lina; Uncle Henry and Aunt Emily who, though childless, 
were like beloved second parents to a host of adoring boys 
and girls; Uncle Isaac and Aunt Matilda. All of those rela- 
tives were united by the closest family ties and their deep 
devotion to one another lasted throughout their lives. It 
was a firmly knit group and each shared to the full in the 
others' joys and sorrows, as was generally true with pioneer 
families who had left their childhood homes to establish them- 
selves in America. So, there was reassembled in Chicago, 
a new population unit — the clan of Greenebaum. 

Our name, Greenebaum, is said to have been acquired 


at the beginning of the nineteenth century when, in 1805, 
by the decree of Napoleon, the Jews were ordered to take 
surnames. My grandfather's father, who was then the head 
of the family, adopted the name, "Gruenebaum" (green tree), 
suggested by the green tree painted upon a shield adorning 
the sign of an inn belonging to an ancestor. My grandmother's 
family name was Felsenthal, meaning hills and valley, and 
described the region in which they lived, where "high cliffs 
towered above the valley." Where my mother's name, 
Spiegel, originated, I do not know. 

The house in which I was born, in 1858, was situated on 
the first land purchased by my father. The property was 
on the corner of Union Street, with about one hundred feet 
fronting on Randolph Street and extended to the next corner. 
Here, in one of the four dwellings my father owned, lived 
our cousins, the Beckers, while a frame cottage on the Union 
Street side was occupied by our relatives, the Harts, who 
had also come to Chicago from Eppelsheim, in the wake of 
the Greenebaums. 

On the north corner of his property my father built our 
comfortable home. The dining room, on the first floor, ex- 
tended across the entire width of the house, with the table 
placed near the windows at one side so that the rest of the 
space might serve as an ample playroom. In the basement 
there was a furnace — a rare possession in those days — but 
it was seldom used, as the house was well equipped with 
stoves, then more generally in vogue. The second-floor bed- 
rooms were unheated, but all opened into a wide hall in 
which stood one of the stoves, and here we sisters, Theresa, 
Henriette, Mary and I would dress when we arose in winter. 
Each cold morning the windows were heavily frosted, but 
we all slept under feather beds and never knew that it was 


frigid. Our bedtime was six o'clock and before retiring we 
were lined up while each was given a tablespoonful of cod 
liver oil, followed by a piece of rock candy. Why is it, I won- 
der, that no modern confection, however delectable, quite 
equals in gustatory bliss the remembered delight of that 
rock candy? Afternoon coffee was an established custom, 
and if any of the children were at home they, too, were served, 
and not one suffered from insomnia! 

We four sisters shared a room, Theresa and Henriette in 
one bed, Mary and I in the other. Each wide bed was placed 
before a large window, with bureau and mirror between. 
Here, in our room, we played our favorite games of 'school' 
and 'Indians'. Indians still lived near the west side of Chicago 
and occasionally they walked on Randolph Street, always in 
single file and wearing leather clothes with blankets over 
their shoulders. They fascinated us and we were never afraid 
of them. Indeed, we were brought up to be without fear of 

Randolph was the chief business street of the West Side. 
The section near us extended from Desplaines to Halsted 
Street and was known as The Haymarket — the same Hay- 
market which later became so important in Chicago history 
as a landmark in city labor situations, for here took place, 
on May 4, 1886, the famous Haymarket riot, at which a bomb 
was thrown and several policemen were killed. 

We were not permitted to cross Randolph Street, which 
was very wide, unless we were accompanied by an older 
person. To us it seemed quite a thoroughfare and we saw its 
first cedar blocks take the place of the deep mud which formed 
the original roadway for Chicago vehicles. Later, when 
streets were being graded and the sidewalks raised, there 
was a continual going up and down stairs in the climb from 


one level to the other. One Incident lingers reminiscently in 
my memory. On Union Street, the wooden planks were 
being laid several feet above the earlier ones. My sister Mary, 
always brimful of ideas, suggested to our cousin Viola Becker 
and me that we attempt to walk the planks all the way to 
our house, keeping our eyes shut tight. Unfortunately, our 
ringleader, Mary, miscalculated and lost her footing, and with 
a banshee shriek toppled over into the dirty, water-filled 
ditch that ran along the sidewalk. One of our uncles heard 
the outcry and recognizing its familiar ring, dashed out of 
his store, jumped down and fished out the dripping, grimy 
Mary, who indignantly accused us of the treachery of "peek- 
ing"; for how else, she reasoned, could we have avoided a 
similar dousing? It was years before we could convince her 
that we escaped only because she, the heroine, fell first! A 
warm bath and some hot milk soon restored Mary to her 
normal cheeriness, despite her misadventure, but after that 
experience we avoided the ditches except when they were 
frozen, in winter, and we took our first skating lessons on 
them, proudly wearing the ice-skates we each received upon 
reaching the impressive age of six. 

Mary was as undaunted as she was resourceful, however, 
and found innumerable ways of entertaining herself, some- 
times, alas, at the expense of others ! She was only five years 
old when she invented a new game for herself which, though 
of short duration, she thoroughly enjoyed. She tossed her 
sunbonnet on top of a high shed and when it did not roll 
back to the ground she wept piteously for the benefit of a 
chance passer-by. First on the scene was a sympathetic lady 
who nobly and laboriously climbed up to rescue the bonnet 
before continuing on her way. This performance so delighted 
Mary that the bonnet was sent up again, for other helpful 


persons to retrieve. Unfortunately, our father soon came 
along! He witnessed Mary's game from a distance, then 
tiptoed softly up behind her and inquired in dulcet tones, 
"Little girl, shall / get your sunbonnet for you?" The "little 
girl" did not wait to respond, but flew home in what proved 
to be a vain endeavor to escape the painful aftermath of her 
mischievousness ! 

My sister Henriette, too, was ingenious beyond her years! 
Uncle Jacob was particularly devoted to Theresa, or Tress, 
as we called her, and promised to "wait for her until she 
grew up" to marry her. (I believe that all of us had similar 
promises made to us by faithless men before we were five 
years old.) Uncle Jacob bought Tress a lovely silk dress and 
a gold ring — a serpent rounded into a circlet, in the popular 
fashion of the day. Henriette was much enamoured of these 
riches, and when Grandfather Spiegel came to see us, later 
in the day, she complained to him, "Grandpa, I am so very 
poor! I have no silk dress and no ring with a tail!" Needless 
to say, her poverty-stricken state was remedied most speedily 1 
I have reason to remember Tress' dress well, because it de- 
scended to Mary and later, when she outgrew it, I became 
heir to the same garment — the first of many hand-me-downs 
I can recall. Tress and Henriette were always dressed alike, 
as were Mary and I, and often, after the elder sisters out- 
grew articles of apparel before they had done sufficient 
service, they were passed down to us. Sewing was done in 
the home for all small members of the family and a dress- 
maker and seamstress were employed regularly, to make 
most of the children's clothes, boys' blouses as well as girls' 

One might dwell long upon the fashions of that day ! One 
of my then most cherished hats was a leghorn with such a 


wide, floppy brim that an elastic, which I held in my hand, 
was sewn to the center of the front edge to prevent it from 
flying away in the breeze. How styles change . . . without 
improving! What is "chic" in one decade is fantastic in the 
next! Our grandmothers, too, took account of the weather, 
and when they went out on rainy days they wore elastic 
bands buckled about their hips, through which they pulled 
their trailing skirts in order to prevent them from touching 
the ground. But, of course, they never exposed their ankles! 
Dear me, no ! 

As I look back, it seems to me that, in my youth, a grand- 
mother was a beloved member of nearly every household. 
This was true, perhaps, because that was before the time 
when thousands of grandmothers lived in hotels and con- 
stituted a large part of the tourist armies invading Europe 
and other portions of the globe. They aided in the daily 
home tasks and were highly esteemed by the children of the 
family. Respect for elders was taken for granted and such 
a thing as questioning the absolute rights of parents was re- 
served for a later generation. 

Parents had real jobs at that time, and large families pro- 
vided fathers with serious business days, while mothers knew, 
and expected, no union hours. Married couples were partners 
in home-building, with the father the undisputed "head of 
the family" and the mother the supervisor and worker in the 
home. Such partnerships existed even though, as frequently 
happened, husband and wife had been brought together, 
originally, in a most impersonal manner. In the immigrant 
communities a man might be told, "I know just the wife for 
you!" An introduction followed, and after a short courtship 
a marriage was arranged. The girl's parents usually made 
the decision, sometimes with a professional marriage broker 


participating in the transaction, and the young couple "lived 
happily ever after" — almost always! 

In our house on Union Street there were, in addition to 
the immediate family, a sturdy maid-of-all-work and a nurse- 
girl who helped with the children. The nursegirl told us the 
most fantastic fairy tales, specializing in those of particularly 
gruesome qualities, full of witches, goblins, wicked step- 
mothers and fiendish monsters. To these we listened in amaze- 
ment, but none of us batted an eye, deciding among ourselves 
that the poor thing simply didn't know any better. Our 
nursegirl's mother was the "Shabbos goya" — a necessary 
adjunct to every Jewish household at that time. It was her 
duty to come on the Sabbath, to light the fires and do such 
chores as the day of rest prohibited the members of a Jewish 
family from performing. All Jewish homes were strictly kosher 
in my childhood, and no one, however radical, would dream 
of questioning the custom in those days. 

One of the most memorable incidents of that time was a 
visit from our Ohio relatives, when Uncle Marcus and Aunt 
Caroline Spiegel came with their four children, to spend 
the summer with us. This period of happy companionship 
so impressed itself upon our childish minds that a long, long 
time elapsed before we ceased referring to it as "two years 
ago." This early visit, punctuated with the most amusing 
games and hilarity, cemented a lifelong friendship between 
the children of the two families, and when the Marcus Spiegels 
settled in Chicago, a few years later, we became inseparable. 
It marked, in fact, the beginning of the close association and 
devotion of the eldest daughter, Lizzie, and myself who, 
ever afterward, played and worked together in complete 
harmony and understanding, each relying with utmost con- 
fidence upon the other. 


Lizzie's father, Colonel Marcus Spiegel, was one of the 
first Union volunteers of the Civil War. He was wounded 
at Vicksburg, in 1863, and was brought through Chicago, 
on his way home. I can distinctly recall the dramatic scene 
when he was carried into our dining room on a stretcher, 
and how the doctor made him rest there, without speaking, 
before he was taken to the train which would transport him 
to his home in Ohio. He recovered from his injury only to 
return to his post where, some months later, he was killed 
in action. 

It was in 1864 that I first became aware of politics, as we 
children listened, with interest, to the slogans of the National 
political parties. I especially remember the one that began, 
"Lincoln on a white horse, McClellan on a mule ..." And 
how dreadful and awe-inspiring was the grim day when 
Lincoln was shot and the entire neighborhood, regardless of 
political belief, was plunged into grief! My mother made 
black-and-white draperies for the front windows of our house 
and I shall never forget the atmosphere of gloom pervading 
the city though I was then too young to realize its implications. 

Years later I heard the story of the contest between Abra- 
ham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas for the senatorship of 
Illinois, as well as tales of Lincoln and his candidacy for 
President. My father knew and greatly admired Douglas, 
who was a close personal friend of Uncle Henry Greenebaum. 
Lincoln, too, was a friend of Uncle Henry, who later became 
the Civil War President's staunch follower. Years later, when 
our third generation was old enough to appreciate Lincoln, 
we gathered all the children together in our home on Michi- 
gan Avenue, to hear Uncle Henry tell his great-nieces and 
nephews of his friendship with President Lincoln, and how 
he had requested Uncle Henry to be present at the station 


when he left Springfield to take up his residence in Washing- 
ton. Despite the many years which had passed, there were 
tears in Uncle Henry's eyes as he told of the beauty of the 
historic speech delivered by President Lincoln from the train 
platform on that memorable day. 

Although I have only a vague recollection of the Civil 
War, I clearly remember hearing my father speak of slavery 
and denouncing it. He disliked any defiance of established 
law, but had an equally firm conviction of man's right to 
personal freedom; a conflict that once, at least, might have 
had troublesome repercussions. Here is the story, quoted 
from Madison Peters' book, Justice to the Jew: "As early as 
1853, a fugitive negro arrested by a United States Marshal 
was liberated by a crowd of citizens, led by Michael Greene- 
baum, and on the evening of the same day, a mass meeting 
was held to ratify the act." Father was an exceedingly strong 
man and had started to batter down the door of the jail in 
which the negro was confined. A crowd soon gathered and 
rallied to Father's support, freeing the negro from captivity. 

That Father was a member of "Engine Number One" of 
the volunteer fire department, in those early Chicago days, 
stirred the imaginations of his grandchildren, most of whom, 
in their young years, knew the last word in horse-drawn 
hook-and-ladder and puffing hose-cart. Now, both horse- 
drawn and man-drawn types are Chicago Historical Museum 
exhibits, appearing to boys and girls of today more like toys 
than genuine fire-fighting equipment. 

Nevertheless, even in our formative years, we children of 
Sarah and Michael Greenebaum were unconsciously aff'ected 
by their spirit of joyous citizenship in a beloved country 
whose reverse side, our parents never forgot, imposed civic 




(Psalms cxxvii:3) 

Henry, Father sold our Union Street house, and the fam- 
ily moved to Chicago's south side, to the corner of Fourth 
Avenue and Polk Street. We lived near the Jones School and 
there, in the circular room on the top floor of the building, 
I began my education. My most vivid Jones School recollec- 
tion goes back to the day when one of the older boys proudly 
bore a flag through our schoolroom on his way to the roof, 
where it was to be raised to celebrate the taking of Vicksburg. 
I remember, too, that we school children were taken to the 
Sanitary Fair — a huge bazaar organized by Chicago women 
to raise money for the care of our Civil War soldiers. This 
was my first exposition experience, but I must have enjoyed 
it, if the long list of those I attended, subsequently, is any 
criterion ! 

Though we remained on the South Side for only two years, 
that period is marked by an unforgettable occurrence! My 
brother, Henry, then but four years old, wandered away from 
home, and a thorough search of the entire neighborhood 
failed to locate him. How awe-stricken we were when Father 
then employed a "crier" — a man who, with his little dog, 
walked block after block, from corner to corner. He rang a 


bell to attract attention, and cried out, "Child lost! Child 
lost!" Then he proceeded to describe, in grisly detail, the 
child and his clothes. He finally succeeded in locating Henry, 
who had fallen asleep on a doorstep and been carried into 
the house by a woman who lived there and who, strangely 
enough, proved to be one of our former maids I Henry slept 
soundly as he was borne triumphantly homeward, and when 
he awakened his only plaint was, "I want my supper!" 
Obviously, for him, the experience was not as harrowing as 
for the rest of the family. 

When, in 1866, the West Side again beckoned my parents, 
we went once more to dwell on Randolph Street. Here, my 
brothers, Gus and Ben were born. We were now a family of 
goodly proportions, needing plenty of room in which to grow. 
My father, accordingly, purchased a new house on Adams 
and Morgan Streets — a home which, ever after in the annals 
of the Greenebaum family, has been known as "the Adams 
Street house". Here, our little sister, Helen, was born in 
January, 1868, and here, too, the arrival of the baby. Rose, 
in 1870, completed our family circle, bringing the number of 
children to a good round ten ! Theresa, Henriette, Mary and 
I, Mose, Henry, Gus, Ben, Helen and Rose ! Babies, in those 
days, were a special brand of surprise and a variety of fairy 
tales accounted for their arrival. Mary, with her usual com- 
petence, somewhat prepared me for the event of Rose's birth, 
however, by taking me into Mother's room and showing me 
a big feather-bed on the top shelf of the closet, with the 
statement, "See that feather-bed? Well, whenever it comes 
down from the storeroom, it means we're going to have a 
new baby !" Our small brothers and sisters were highly prized 
and, after a few months, when they began to develop real per- 
sonalities, became members of the clan with which to reckon. 










































y— V. 


S— ( 





. ^^ 










Our substantial red brick house on Adams Street stands 
out pre-eminently in our memories and was the scene of a 
joyous procession of experiences for many years. It was spa- 
cious and comfortable, for Father had become a prosperous 
hardware merchant, able to provide all that a family of ten 
children could require. One of the most important demands 
of well-adjusted children was plenty of room for company, 
and accordingly, the Adams Street latchstring always "hung 
out." Mother and Father never failed to extend a most cor- 
dial welcome to all our friends and our dining table was 
seldom surrounded only by members of the family. Mother 
always managed to have enough food on hand to provide 
for any number of "droppers-inners" and there was, at all 
times, an extra fowl roasted and cooling in the larder so that, 
as someone once remarked, 'At Greenebaum's, those who 
come late get chicken!" 

Mother was a remarkable mater familias, yet, in spite of 
her many home duties, she found time to befriend all who 
needed her. In 1883, she called together a group of women 
to form Chicago's first Jewish Ladies Sewing Society, where 
they made garments for the poor and aided the unfortunate. 
It was a source of deep gratification to us that Mother's abil- 
ity and quality of leadership were recognized and honored 
when a sister branch of the Jochannah was organized in 1907, 
and named Sarah Greenebaum Lodge. 

Strength and gallantry were outstanding characteristics of 
my mother, yet she had a natural buoyancy of spirit and a 
gift of quaint expression that made her evaluations unique. 
She met life courageously at every turn, and to this day we 
quote the many original sayings — so wise or so witty — with 
which she habitually punctuated her conversation. Once, 
when we were discussing the vicissitudes of life, she said, 


"One must never allow conditions to master him; he must 
always master them." At another time, she remarked, "The 
good Lord should not bring us all we can bear!" Not mere 
expressions, these, but phrases which embodied the philoso- 
phy by which she lived. 

In the Greenebaum family, anything and everything called 
for a "party" ! Upon the slightest provocation — or none at 
all — the clan would gather for a celebration. As I look back 
through the years, I realize how firmly that pattern was set, 
for from our earliest youth, we were never happier than when 
we, with our parents, relatives and friends, embarked upon 
some simple but thoroughly enjoyable adventure. Family pic- 
nics, particularly, were highspots of our summer vacations. 
How eagerly we scanned the skies as we awoke, and with 
what joy we greeted the sun that augured well for a bright, 
clear day. Huge hampers would be filled with hearty goodies, 
and then the entire family would swarm into the carriages in 
which we would ride out to the woods or pleasant open places 
which surrounded Chicago, "the Garden City", as it was 
then called. One especially eventful Sunday picnic comes to 
my mind when, in two carriages driven by Father and Uncle 
Isaac, respectively, we set out for Lincoln Park, in Lake View, 
then well outside the city limits. There had been a heavy 
rain the day before, and as we neared our destination, our 
carriage, weighted down with Greenebaums of all ages, sank 
deep into the mud of the unpaved road. What a dismal 
groan arose as we felt ourselves sinking lower and lower, until 
the wheels were rutted in mire almost to the hubs ! For almost 
an hour the men of our party struggled to free us, with the 
aid of sturdy planks which they put under the wheels, and 
finally, with much pushing and pulling and grunting, egged 
on by plenty of encouragement from the "back-seat drivers", 


we emerged. Just at that very minute, Father — always the 
most considerate of men — saw another carriage approaching. 
Without a thought for himself or the snowy white linen suit 
he was wearing, he ran to warn the newcomers, so that they 
might avoid our misfortune. He succeeded in heading them 
off, but not before he, himself, sank into mud to the knees! 
How we unsympathetic youngsters laughed to see our usually 
immaculate father in a state all too familiar to the small 
members of the family. Fortunately, Father joined in the 
merriment, and no one was gayer than he as we dined, al 
fresco, in a nearby vacant lot, accepting philosophically that 
substitute for Lincoln Park. 

In the winter, one of our favorite forms of diversion was 
sleighing, then so much in vogue. The large bob-sled used 
in Father's business, by day, would be filled with our friends, 
on bright moonlight nights, as we embarked upon long, jolly 
rides. The bottom of the sleigh would be covered with hay 
and we bundled ourselves up in our heaviest clothing with 
thick robes of fur and wool as further protection from the 
blasts of Chicago's chilling winds. 

But always, throughout our lives, the home pleasures have 
lingered most tenderly in our memories. In about 1867 we 
acquired the piano which became, virtually, a member of the 
family, and ever after, as we children learned to play and 
music assumed an increasing importance in our household, it 
proved to be a most treasured adjunct to the home. 

The festivities incident to the observance of the Jewish holi- 
days were looked forward to with great eagerness, from year 
to year: in December, the feast of the Maccabees, which we 
celebrated with the burning of the Chanukah lights; Purim, 
in the springtime, brought its merry pranks and masquerad- 
ing, in commemoration of Queen Esther and the destruction 


of Haman; and Pesach — the Passover — with its Seder serv- 
ice was especially loved! Jewish home festivals were solem- 
nized thoughtfully, indeed, and woe to the child whose deco- 
rum failed to measure up to standard ! To Jews who came 
from lands where the hand of the oppressor still palled, these 
observances were of tremendous significance and importance 
and the home, as well as the synagogue, was a center of 
religious life. 

At the same time, the synagogue shared in the secular life. 
In connection with Zion Temple, there was a school to which 
many of the Jewish children were sent in preference to public 
school. Mary and I, Mose and Henry, all attended for a 
time. The services in the synagogue were conducted in Ger- 
man and Hebrew and so these languages were made part of 
the school's curriculum. As there were only six or seven grades, 
many of the pupils who attended went on to public school 
for further instruction when the course of study at Zion was 
completed. Tress and Henriette were already too advanced 
in their studies for attendance at Zion and so, in 1867, after 
a year or two in public school, it was decided that they be 
sent abroad to complete their schooling. Father, always pro- 
gressive, believed that girls, as well as boys, should be given 
educational advantages, and since his faith in a German edu- 
cation was unbounded. Tress and Henriette were permitted 
to enter the Jewish boarding school conducted by the Misses 
Loewenthal and Blum, in Frankfort-on-the-Main. Here they 
received a thorough continental education in a course of 
studies that included languages, music and sewing as well 
as history, geography, Greek mythology and German litera- 
ture. Henriette, who was especially gifted in music, was pro- 
vided with the finest teachers in Germany, and returned home 
a most accomplished musician. 


In 1869, Father took Mary to Europe, to enter her in the 
school in Germany which the two older sisters attended, and 
when he returned he brought Tress home with him, where 
she immediately assumed charge of the younger children, be- 
coming Mother's most dependable assistant. 

Mary's departure deprived me of the sister whose constant 
companionship began in infancy. What did I not owe to her 
interest in my education ! When the Washington Street tunnel 
was completed, in 1869, she took me through it — neglecting, 
in her own inimitable way, to mention the excursion to our 
family whose anxiety regarding our whereabouts mounted 
higher and higher during our absence. Upon our return home, 
she was dumbfounded to learn our elders had been alarmed, 
and in response to their concerned questioning said that she 
thought they, too, would realize how important it was for 
Hannah to see the tunnel right away! Another time, she 
piloted me to the top of the Court House with the excuse, 
on this occasion, that "Hannah had never before had the 
opportunity of visiting the building." Surely, without her, I 
might well have missed many of the highspots of early 
Chicago ! 

I continued attending the Skinner Grammar School after 
Mary's departure for Germany, graduating in 1871. I pre- 
ferred an American education to study abroad, electing to 
learn Latin and mathematics rather than modern languages. 
On Monroe Street, between Halsted and Desplaines, was 
West Division, Chicago's only high school, which was entirely 
adequate at that time, since many children carried their for- 
mal education no further than eighth grade. Only a high 
school course was required for those wishing to embark upon 
a teaching career, and boys planning to engage in the profes- 
sions began their specialized studies immediately upon com- 


pletion of four years high school training. Comparatively few 
went to college. 

My introduction to West Division High School is indelibly 
impressed upon my memory because of the frightful tragedy 
that swept Chicago at almost the same time. Little did I 
dream, as I prepared my lessons just a few hours before, that 
the Chicago Fire, on October 9, 1871, would prove so grim 
a test of the courage of Chicago pioneers ! It was a gruelling 
experience for every inhabitant of the city, and although we 
lived outside the devastated area, we — along with all our 
neighbors — shared in the terror and heartache it brought 
in its wake. All through the night we stood at the windows 
and watched the flames and smoke; all of us fully dressed so 
that we might be ready to flee to the prairies if the fire came 
our way. All citizens aided valiantly in protecting people 
and their possessions, and officials and police were tireless in 
their staunch efforts to be of service wherever and whenever 
needed. Our house was thrown open and filled to capacity, 
thus providing lodging to many persons whose homes were 
gone, and every room was piled high with the possessions of 
others, as were our yard, barn and shed. 

The desolation of the city after the conflagration was almost 
as numbing as the fire itself, and it was some time before 
normal living could be resumed. Throughout the demolished 
district temporary shacks were erected for business firms and, 
little by little, in a new Chicago, old wooden structures were 
supplanted by sturdier ones of stone and brick. The fortitude 
and resilience of the Chicagoans who suff"ered such terrifying 
dangers and losses at that time can never be described ade- 
quately, but their spirit still serves as inspiration for many of 
us who have been called upon to face experiences stoically. 

As the city was rebuilt, the playhouses on the West Side 


were reopened, and favorite Saturday treats were the exciting 
melodramas and light plays presented at the Globe Theater, 
located on Desplaines Street, in the building which earlier 
had housed the Zion Temple. To this day I still see Kate 
Field, tied to her horse, in "Mazeppa", and bethink myself 
of how I thrilled to her joys and chilled to her woes ! The 
curtain of the Globe Theater bore these words: "Westward 
the Course of Empire Takes Its Flight" — a sentence that im- 
pressed me profoundly, and which I interpreted to mean that 
the Jews would continue going west until they reached Pales- 
tine. So it is clear that in my very young years, at least, I 
was a Zionist, albeit unwittingly. 

The theaters of that day had excellent stock companies, 
worthy of supporting the great and famous stars who came 
to play the leading roles. Shakespearean plays were prime 
favorites. The performance of As You Like It, I saw in 1873, 
with Adelaide Neilson as Rosalind and James O'Neil as Or- 
lando was brilliant and unforgettable — a glorious introduc- 
tion to the works of the English bard. For my sixteenth 
birthday I was taken to hear my first opera, Les Huguenots, 
with Christine Nillson, the renowned Swedish prima donna 
and my delight was unbounded when, entre acte, was pro- 
duced an exquisite ballet dance — the first I had ever seen! 
In retrospect, I realize that Mother and Tress, who accom- 
panied me, were — in the approved attitude of the day — 
more than a little perturbed at my witnessing so "daring" a 
performance ! 

When Henriette returned from Europe, in 1871, she brought 
with her copies of many of the great German classics. The 
following year Mary, too, returned bringing still more books, 
and we had a grand time over the plays and stories. Mary 
read Hauff's tales aloud to me, and how we enjoyed them, 


replete as they were with the doings of the Devil and his 
grandmother! Later, a French teacher was added to my 
tutors, and I studied until I could master the French novels 
by myself. My, but we took them seriously . . . those books of 
Dickens, Thackery, Scott, Emerson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, 
Carlyle and George Elliot (and if we ever "skipped" a few 
pages of description or philosophic musing, you may be sure 
we didn't admit it, even to ourselves !) The study of history held 
first place in my interest and I enjoyed, especially, Macaulay's 
History of England and the biographies of historic characters 
in his essays. But I was wholesomely undiscriminating and 
indulged most freely in reading everything I could find, literary 
or otherwise, including The Fireside Companion — the "pulp" 
magazine of the day — which I bought every week during 
my youthful years. Almanacs full of witticisms, the novels of 
Mary Holmes and Miss Evans, as well as the really fine works 
of distinguished writers. There were not so many extraneous 
distractions for girls of that time, and the romance and thrills 
provided by the motion pictures of today came to us from 
between the covers of popular books of the moment which, 
in our naivete, seemed simply breath-taking in their excite- 
ment and colorfulness. 




(Psalms cxxxvii:4) 

IT WAS A FRUITFUL MOMENT for the traditional questioning 
of an adolescent. 

Important and rapid were the changes in thought that 
occurred during the period of the pioneers and their children. 
Up to this time, philosophy, science and religious interpre- 
tation had been reserved for clergy-men, rabbis and scholars 
and the result of their study and research was received and 
accepted without question by their followers. Piety was 
founded upon an accepted Faith in the Universe and its 
Creator and Ruler, rather than upon the personal conviction 
of a layman and science was considered authentic only if 
it agreed with religious belief. Later, with a more general 
knowledge of the laws of evolution, a new attitude developed. 
Sciences were then judged on their own merits and religion 
was no longer the yardstick by which were measured their 
truth or value. 

Religious disagreements also existed between the various 
sects of Protestants, as well as between Catholics and Prot- 
estants or Jews and Christians. The rift between Christian 
sects was wide, though the points at issue were based largely 
upon some specific detail, rather than fundamental religious 
tenets. As the study of Biblical criticism and of comparative 


religions became more general, however, a new understanding 
emerged. In this the sciences, too, played a part, contributing 
toward the development of a kindlier spirit. Respect and 
appreciation, though by no means universal, slowly replaced 
many prejudices. Nevertheless, since the social life of that 
day centered largely around the church. Catholic and Prot- 
estant groups mingled but little and the Jews, with few ex- 
ceptions, formed their associations among their own people. 
In our younger years, our social contacts were entirely with 
Jewish girls and boys, but when we began attending public 
schools we found congenial companions among the families 
of other faiths, many of whom have remained our friends 
through the years. 

When the children of the Jewish pioneers started to attend 
public schools, English soon replaced German in the homes 
and, some time later, in the synagogue as well, to the point 
where a third generation scarcely realized that German ever 
had been used in religious services. Many national groups, 
however, remained loyal to their native lands, and it was taken 
for granted that this should be so. The name of a mother 
country was given to many enterprises by men who were 
most devoted to the United States, and who loved its form 
of government. Banks were known by such titles as Scotch, 
Hibernian or German; societies like the early musical associ- 
ations also followed this practice and many were named for 
similar organizations existing abroad. As long as the laws 
were respected and local customs not neglected, no one ob- 
jected to this carrying over of old-world atmosphere. A con- 
flict did occur, however, when the Germans, who represented 
about one-sixth of Chicago's population, wished the right to 
keep their beer-gardens open on Sunday. The English- 
American heartily disliked what was known as a "Continental 


Sunday", and a serious controversy arose. Uncle Henry 
Greenebaum, who was a very prominent citizen, was named 
spokesman for the Germans, and finally succeeded in winning 
permission to enjoy the gardens and halls on every day of 
the week. 

Our family belonged to the Reform Jewish group, for my 
father was most progressive — even radical in many ways. 
One of his strongest convictions was the importance of adapt- 
ing religion to the needs and welfare of the people, and long 
before they were actually adopted, he advocated Sunday 
services so that men who were occupied with business on 
Saturday could have the benefits of the teachings of the 
pulpit. I remember a discussion he had on the subject, with 
Mother, who asked him, "Would you do such a thing to 
your old Mother as to change the day of the Sabbath?" This 
was a powerful point, at a time when honoring father and 
mother implied a life-long duty and old customs were fre- 
quently retained out of deference to parents, despite one's 
own earnest convictions. Reform congregations, however, 
continued the Saturday services even after Sunday morning 
worship was introduced. 

Father also urged that the Prayer Book be translated into 
English. Made up of portions of the Bible, of traditional 
prayers from older works, poems from Jewish literature, as 
well as original lessons, the early Prayer Book was written 
in Hebrew, which was readily understood by practically all 
of the pioneer Jev/ish group. It took much persuasion to 
have the English substitution made, but once translated, it 
spread rapidly to all Reform congregations and soon even 
the more Conservative synagogues, in other countries, adopted 
their own languages for services. 

In the early days, there were no choirs in the synagogues, 


and prayers were chanted by a cantor. Men followed the 
prescribed practice of wearing their hats and the talith at 
services, and continued to use phylacteries for prayers in the 
home. Though the Reform Jews omitted many of the tradi- 
tional customs, never did they discard the recital of the Kad- 
dish, a prayer in praise of the Creator, repeated for a year 
after death by mourners in memory of departed members of 
the family. Even the most lax in synagogue attendance con- 
tinued this rite, though the observance sometimes consisted 
merely in arriving in time for the Kaddish and departing 
immediately thereafter ! The celebration of the Barmitzvah 
for a boy upon reaching the age of thirteen was general, too. 
In honor of this event, the youth was privileged to read a 
portion of the Temple service on the Sabbath Day, and the 
occasion was both important and impressive. The boy was 
then considered eligible to be a member of the congregation 
and to be reckoned one of the ten men necessary for a re- 
ligious service. Needless to say, girls and women were never 
permitted to count among the required ten. Later, in Reform 
temples, upon completion of the Sabbath School course, 
confirmation was adopted for the boys, in place of the Bar- 
mitzvah, and for the girls, as well. 

The attitude of even the most Reform Jews was that of 
the Fundamentalists as far as the Five Books of Moses was 
concerned. The Creator was a positive Personality who had 
inspired Moses to give the Ten Commandments as the Divine 
Law for all men. God had no stepchildren; all, alike, were 
in His keeping, but to no group had He shown more favors 
than to the Jews whom He had saved, time and again, from 
their enemies. 

To Jews in a strange land the need to worship together 
was a vital one. For the observance of the Day of Atonement 


in the fall of 1845, it was barely possible to recruit, in Chicago, 
the ten men traditionally required for the holding of Jewish 
public services. Two years later, however, there were twenty 
who were ready and eager to establish Chicago's first Jewish 
congregation, Kehileth Anshe Ma'ariv (Congregation of the 
Men of the West), By 1855 it was a firmly established Temple 
which my grandfather, Jacob Greenebaum, was chosen to 
represent at a convention of Jewish congregations, in Cleve- 
land, Ohio. It was there that a resolution was adopted which 
declared the ordinances and practices laid down in the Tal- 
mud binding upon American Jews. How my grandfather 
voted upon this resolution, I was never told, but I do know 
that his sons belonged to a small group of men who were 
extremely liberal for their time, and for whom such a pro- 
nouncement could not hold. A story is told of Uncle Henry's 
declaration to his father one day, that he intended to remove 
his hat at Temple services the following Friday evening — a 
procedure hitherto unheard of! My grandfather was horrified, 
but was unable to dissuade Uncle Henry from his revolu- 
tionary purpose. However, history has it that, a few weeks 
later, my grandfather, too, removed his hat for services. 

In 1858, Dr. Bernard Felsenthal came to live in Chicago, 
and under his leadership, a group of men who had veered 
from orthodoxy, organized a Jewish Reform Society (Judische 
Reformverein) in which they discussed, with ardor and con- 
viction, changes in religious belief and attitude. In 1860, Re- 
form was made an issue at the annual meeting of the Temple, 
Kehileth Anshe Ma'ariv (K.A.M.) to which they all belonged. 
My father was among the officers elected, all of whom 
were of the Reform group. Under protest, an organ was 
purchased for the Temple, and a committee was appointed 
to consider changes in the wording of the ritual for the serv- 


ices, with — as might well be imagined — highly emotional 
reactions on both sides. The committee, however, brought 
back as its report a recommendation that, since there were 
many in the congregation to whom a break with orthodoxy 
would bring real distress, the Reform group should resign 
and organize a new congregation. This course was agreed 
upon. On June 20, 1861, Reform Judaism, in Chicago, was 
officially born. Sinai Congregation was incorporated, with 
Dr. Felsenthal as its first rabbi. One of the controversial 
differences was settled without argument, thanks to a dram- 
atic journey made by my father and Uncle Henry, in the 
dead of the night. They drove up to K.A.M., with a horse 
and wagon, and removed the organ to the new Temple, and 
music, thenceforth, became an integral part of the revised 





(Psalms xvi:6) 

Y GRANDPARENTS CELEBRATED their goldcn Wedding anni- 
versary in 1868, with a tremendous affair given at the 
Concordia, then the most popular Jewish social club, of which 
Uncle Henry was a founder, as well as its first president. All 
of the pioneer Jewish families of the community were invited, 
as well as many friends and relatives from other cities, all of 
whom joined enthusiastically with the children and grand- 
children of the family in the celebration. It was, indeed, a 
most memorable occasion, beginning with a dinner at two- 
thirty in the afternoon, and the festivities continued until 
late into the night. Grandmother was lovely in a gown of 
rustling taffeta silk, made in the style she always wore, with 
very full skirt and short waist adorned with a beautiful lace 
collar. The inner sleeves, of filmy tulle, were edged with 
lace, for that was the period when white inner sleeves were 
a fashionable adjunct to all elegant silken costumes. Every- 
one agreed that Grandmother was exquisitely gowned and 
perfectly accoutred but,' to my youthful eyes, the piece de 
resistance was the exquisite snuff-box, intricately wrought in 
carnelian set in gold which each grandparent carried — and 
used ! No jewelled compact or flashing lipstick or novel ac- 
cessory, now in vogue, has ever impressed me so forcibly, 


and I longed for the day when I, too, might indulge in so 
adult a habit. Needless to say, though adulthood came, in 
the usual course of events, my ideas of "grandeur" changed 
with the times, and so hasten to acknowledge that the snuff 
habit is one I acquired only in those childish thoughts. The 
use of snuff was a custom probably adopted at the time of 
my grandparents' marriage, when Napoleon was master of 
their country, and ante-dated the cigarette habit of later 

It was a source of deep satisfaction to my parents that the 
golden anniversary was so joyously celebrated, for just two 
years later, in 1870, Grandfather Greenebaum died. He had 
been held in high esteem in the community, and I can re- 
member how moving and impressive was the tolling of the 
Court House bell as his funeral procession passed. 

The autobiography he had written for his children, and 
which was later translated into English by my sister Henriette, 
ended with these words: "You can also gather from this nar- 
rative, with what care we brought you up and nurtured you, 
and with what exertions and even privations we provided for 
your education, as far as our circumstances permitted. And 
finally, that you might not be separated on different conti- 
nents, and only for this reason, we took the perilous journey 
to America. For all this I demanded nothing of you except 
unity among yourselves . . . Therefore, follow my admonition 
... it is the only one I recommend to you. I do not know 
how long it will be vouchsafed me to call your attention 
thereto, but when my last hour strikes, and the power of 
speech fails me, this will be my last thought." 

Surely this message, fraught with the most perfect parental 
devotion, carried on through generations after, for Grand- 
father's "admonition" in which he "demanded nothing . . . 


except unity among yourselves" has ever been exemplified in 
our Greenebaum family life. 

The beautiful and ever-present examples of marriage set 
by both our parents and grandparents were, perhaps, respon- 
sible in a measure for the fact that romance budded early in 
our home on Adams Street. It swept through the family like 
a welcome contagion, and all of us, with the exception of the 
youngest brother and sister, Ben and Rose, left it for homes 
of our own. In 1873, our beloved Tress was married to Marx 
Lesem after the only two months in which our whole family 
had dwelt together under one roof, and in May of the same 
year, Henriette became the wife of Henry L. Frank. 

Scarcely had we recovered from the excitement attendant 
upon the weddings when our household was diminished still 
further, and Henry and Mose were sent abroad, to school in 
Heidelberg. Meantime, I had become engrossed in my musical 
studies and time was entirely too inadequate for me to ac- 
complish all I wished. So, after two years at High School, 
when I was given the choice of going to Germany or con- 
tinuing my studies at home, I asked that I be permitted to 
leave school in order to devote more time to my piano. My 
parents consented, and arranged for me to take lessons from 
Carl Wolfsohn, a remarkably fine piano teacher but recently 
arrived in Chicago. Mr. Wolfsohn's star pupil, at the time, 
was none other than Fannie Bloomfield, whose magnificent 
piano artistry was developed under his guidance and who, 
later, became the greatest woman pianist of her day — Fannie 
Bloomfield Zeisler. 

Though never aspiring to such heights, myself, I nonethe- 
less devoted three hours a day to practicing, performed in 
public at Mr. Wolfsohn's frequent student recitals and ac- 
companied many young violinists, cellists and singers. 


George Upton, in his biography of Theodore Thomas, 
Chicago's first great orchestra leader, wrote a most interest- 
ing history of musical development in Chicago, which local 
musicians will find enlightening from many standpoints, and 
in which he pays tribute to Mr. Wolfsohn and his whole- 
hearted eff'orts to make Chicago a musical center. 

Music was just then beginning to assume importance in 
Chicago, and an early edition of The Chicago Tribune an- 
nounced the coming of "Theodore Thomas and His Troupe". 

Thomas concerts were presented with great regularity 
throughout the summers, in the old Exposition Building which 
stood near the present site of the Art Institute, and annexed 
to the concert hall was a restaurant where the serving of soft 
drinks and suppers added a welcome social aspect to each 
distinguished performance. The warmth with which the or- 
chestra was hailed, even then, presaged the city's enthusiasm 
for the later years of glorious concerts given, originally, in 
the great Auditorium Theater. Then came the thrilling day, 
in 1904, when for the first time, Theodore Thomas conducted 
at the new Orchestra Hall, specially built for his "troupe". 
The following January, Mr. Thomas became ill, and died, 
and despite their grief at his loss, all Chicago music lovers 
rejoiced that he had been spared long enough to realize his 
dream of conducting his orchestra in its own new home. 

The Apollo Choral Society was foremost among the many 
amateur music organizations existing in those early days, par- 
ticularly among the German-born groups. The Beethoven 
Society, another of the leading singing associations, was the 
one to which Mary, Henriette and her husband, Henry Frank, 
and I belonged. No affiliation brought us greater pleasure 
than those hours we devoted to singing with the large mixed 
chorus, preparing for the public concerts and oratorios we 


presented from time to time, and in which many renowned 
musicians participated. The organization was founded in 
about 1873, by Mr. Wolfsohn, whose profound admiration 
for the great composer was loyally expressed, both in the 
name he bestowed upon it, and in his gift to the city of 
Chicago, of the beautiful Beethoven statue in Lincoln Park, 
the work of the sculptor, Gellert. 

Uncle Henry Greenebaum was the Beethoven Society's first 
president. Indeed, it would have been difficult to find a roster 
of any educational, cultural or philanthropic organization of 
that day which did not include his name. This short little 
man, with his silvery goatee and ready smile, more than com- 
pensated for his physical handicap by his great heart, noble 
spirit and remarkable abilities. His wide interests brought 
him prominence in civic affairs, as well, and he was a leader, 
too, in Jewish and German circles. After the Franco-German 
war, in 1870, he was made Field Marshal of the peace parade; 
he was appointed Chief Marshal for the festivities celebrating 
the dedication of Humboldt Park, and was among the pro- 
motors of the Chicago City Library, serving on the committee 
that went to the state capitol, at Springfield, to arrange for 
the library's permanent establishment. Often, he and Aunt 
Emily took me with them to see the plays at the German 
Theater with which he was affiliated, and he worked actively 
with those who arranged to bring the opera to Chicago. He 
was the first president of Zion Temple, serving for a number 
of years and when, in 1895, Isaiah congregation was founded 
with Dr. Joseph Stoltz as rabbi, Uncle Henry became its first 
president. What a colorful, benevolent and lovable man was 
"little Uncle Henry", as he was affectionately known, because 
of his noticeably small stature. Though he was a great his- 
torical figure in all pioneer activities, we like best to remember 


him for the many years he devoted to the collecting of funds, 
to which he donated generously, himself, to provide adequate 
training and education for promising young artists and musi- 
cians. As long as he lived, this was his most absorbing enter- 
prise, and surprising is the number who, having achieved 
fame, gladly acknowledge, with appreciation and gratitude, 
that they owe their successful careers to "little Uncle Henry". 
His portrait hangs, today, in the Chicago Historical Museum's 
gallery of Chicago personages, as does a painting of Uncle 
Elias in recognition of his similar noteworthy participation 
in many important civic projects. 

Music remained, for a number of years, one of our few 
prescribed means of self-expression, until — in 1877 — my 
father proved again his understanding of youth and his in- 
stinctive gift of answering its needs. He called a meeting of 
all the young Jewish folks of the West Side and organized, 
for us, the Zion Literary Society. It was so delightful an 
addition to our social life that we enjoyed the memory of it 
long after it had outlived its usefulness and ceased functioning. 
I served on its first board, as did a most interesting and — 
to me — appealing young man, Henry Solomon. Levy Mayer, 
who became one of Chicago's eminent lawyers, was editor 
of the "Zion Lit", a carefully prepared news journal that 
was presented at each meeting. I was made assistant editor. 

Our meetings were held in the basement of the Synagogue 
and the programs consisted of recitations, lectures, theatricals, 
music and original contributions by members. Large affairs 
were arranged, from time to time, and especially vivid memo- 
ries remain of the Purim masquerades. There was one par- 
ticularly memorable ball at which my father, who had just 
learned to dance, was what the young people of today would 
call "the life of the party". The recollection of the general 


amusement and astonishment when his identity was finally 
revealed was mirth-provoking to the family for a long, long 

Our whole circle of associates were active members of the 
Zion Literary Society until it was disbanded in 1892, and we 
attended all of the jolly reunions. Many of the young men 
of the group were in the professions, later distinguishing them- 
selves as physicians, lawyers, musicians and authors. Some 
were the sons of pioneers who came from lands where, in the 
villages, times were difficult and opportunities few. The second 
generation had aspirations, ambition, industry and courage, 
and aided their families in achieving higher standards of liv- 
ing. Only to their own abilities and efforts did they owe their 
success; a rich reward which cannot be acquired through 
fortunes inherited from ancestors. Many of the pioneers felt 
keenly the desire to protect their children from the hardships 
they had endured and, with the wealth they had acquired 
so recently, purchased ease and comfort for their sons and 
daughters, too often weakening, rather than strengthening 
them. Of this generation, a number drifted away from the 
orthodox views of their parents and waited until a calamity 
roused them to some form of religious expression. They did 
not realize, alas, that faith can be achieved only through 
hours of calm reflection — that it is not a prop or a soporific, 
to be conjured up, magically, in time of trouble. If it is to be 
sustaining, it must be, in truth, a part of the fibre of one's 
own being, embodying a philosophy with which to meet the 
problems of daily living. 

As I look back upon my life's adventure, this period appears 
as the beginning of my career — if I ever had one — and it 
started with an amusing experience. In 1877, Henriette and I 
were honored with an invitation to join the Chicago Woman's 


Club. It had been founded the year before and numbered 
thirty of the representative women of the city, of whom Mrs. 
Murray F. Tuley and Kate Raworth (afterwards Mrs. Kate 
Raworth Holmes) were among our good friends. The sum- 
mer before, when Henriette and I had vacationed at Beaver 
Lake, Wisconsin, Mrs. Tuley had also been there, and had 
spoken to us of the Chicago Woman's Club and of her desire 
to have us enjoy its membership. Long after we learned that 
when our names were first proposed, the members thought- 
fully and seriously considered whether the presence of women 
of a different faith might prevent frank and open discussion 
of certain important issues. It was finally decided that a 
member should visit us in our home and bring back a report ! 
The woman delegated arrived one morning at about eleven 
o'clock. She was charming, and Mother — as unsuspecting 
as we of the object of her visit — invited her to prolong her 
stay so that she might meet the rest of the family at dinner. 
She spent the entire afternoon with us, remaining, indeed, 
for supper, as well ! Her day was evidently quite satisfactory, 
since we soon received notice that we had been elected to 
membership in the Chicago Woman's Club. I was the young- 
est among them — just eighteen when the matter of member- 
ship was broached — and I am now the only woman still 
living who entered in the Club's second year. At that time, 
we had but one study group which later became the Art and 
Literature Department. There were eight in our class and 
as we devoted ourselves to the subject of Egyptian sculpture, 
little did I dream I should see the marvelous remains of the 
early art we then studied, after I was sixty years old ! 

Our entrance into the Chicago Woman's Club was signifi- 
cant for the organization as well as for us, as we were not 
only the first Jewish women invited into it, but were probably 


the only Jewesses many of the members ever had met. To 
join an organization of "women" — not "ladies" — and one 
which bore the title "club", rather than "society", was in 
itself a radical step, but my parents approved, for they whole- 
heartedly endorsed its educational value. We met either in a 
hotel or in private homes; occasionally at that of the president 
and founder, Mrs. Caroline M. Brown. That Mrs. Brown 
was a woman of keen foresight is evident from the fact that 
she built the earliest apartment house in Chicago. 

Those were the days when politics (including, of course, 
woman's suffrage) and religion were taboo as subjects for 
discussion in the Club but in 1892 the program committee 
asked me to present its first paper on religion for which I 
chose the subject, "Our Debt to Judaism". Tolerance, now 
a word in none too good repute with those who feel that 
men must do more than tolerate one another, had advanced 
sufficiently so that various members of the Club invited me 
to present my paper before other organizations to which they 
belonged. Its subject aroused a lively interest and it was 
subsequently published in "Unity", the magazine of the 
Unitarian Church. 

Miss Herma Clark has gathered some of her "Dear Julia" 
letters, originally appearing in a Chicago newspaper column 
entitled "When Chicago Was Young", into a delightful vol- 
ume she calls "The Elegant Eighties", in which an imaginary 
character, Martha Freeman Esmond, pens to an out-of-town 
friend intimate accounts of Chicago happenings. In a letter 
purported to have been written in the eighties, she wrote, 
"This has been a busy day, for I have spent the morning at 
the Chicago Woman's Club, where I heard an interesting 
paper on religion given by Mrs. Henry Solomon. This is the 
first time such a subject has been presented at the Club, and 


we were all much interested for it was so well done. She is 
the youngest member ever taken in by the Club, for she was 
barely eighteen when she was admitted, with her sister, Mrs. 
Henry Frank. However, it is not surprising that she should 
have been so heartily welcomed, for her father and mother, 
Mr. and Mrs. Michael Greenebaum, have the organizing 
spirit. Mr. Greenebaum has founded a society called Zion 
Literary Society, in which such promising young people as 
Levy Mayer, Jacob Newman and Joseph Schaffner are lead- 
ing spirits. Will was lately invited to speak on a legal subject 
before these young Jewish men and was much impressed by 
their earnestness. 

"Mrs. Sarah Greenebaum, mother of Mrs. Solomon, is 
hardly less public-spirited than her husband, and has organ- 
ized a sewing society which has done much good. With such 
unselfish parents, my lovely young friend could hardly be 
other than the fine person she is. But I forget that you met 
her when you were last here and so don't need to have her 
qualities set out before you. She was the girl, you know, who 
played that duet with her sister, Mrs. Frank, at the musical 
given by her uncle, Henry Greenebaum. You thought them 
both very talented. . . . The Michael Greenebaum home on 
West Adams Street has always been a social and cultural 
center for the Jewish settlers in Chicago." 

And then, bless her heart, Miss Clark goes on to describe 
me as I appear in a photograph taken at about that time. 
"Mrs. Solomon was wearing a lovely gown today, a basque 
of plain cloth above a figured silk skirt. The waist was cut 
very plain, with a row of small buttons fastening it down 
the front, while a shoulder bow relieved its severity. A white 
linen collar finished it at the neckline and about this was 
knotted another ribbon. Her hair was prettily arranged, the 


My "First Public Appearance" costume in which 

I read the first paper on ReHi^ion ever presented 

before The C'hicaffo Woman's Club 

back part brushed away from the front and defined with a 
band of silver. Her bangs were worn in soft ringlets — some 
people call them 'spit-curls', odious word!" 

It was good of Miss Clark to preserve my elegance for 
posterity — an elegance that the young lady of today, in her 
informal sports togs, can scarcely picture and surely would 
not envy! 

Continuing her picturesque letter, Martha Esmond wrote, 
"After leaving the Club meeting, Mrs. Solomon and I stopped 
by invitation at the home of her sister, Mrs. Charles Haas, 
where we met at a "Kaffee-Klatch" a group of fine women." 
The sister mentioned is, of course, Mary, and the "group of 
fine women" formed our circle of intimate friends. We were 
known to one another as "the girls" — yes, even after three 
of us, Mrs. Charles Liebenstein, Lizzie Spiegel Barbe and I, 
had reached what some people consider the age of discretion, 
but what we preferred to think of as a very youthful eighty ! 



PEOPLE . . .» 

(Ruth i:16) 

Mary's marriage to teasing, lovable Charley Haas, in 1878, 
was in itself a most exciting occasion. The fact that I 
became engaged to Henry Solomon at her wedding made it, 
of course, the most entrancing and memorable event of my 
twenty years! I did, however, by dint of the utmost self- 
control, manage to keep my joyful tidings a secret throughout 
the wedding festivities, and it was not until the following 
morning that I prepared, shyly and tentatively, to share 
Henry's and my newfound happiness with my mother. 

I found her, that next morning, busily restoring to its nor- 
mal tidiness a house much disordered by the crowd and gaity 
attendant upon a wedding. As she bustled from room to 
room, straightening rugs, moving chairs and re-living, again, 
the highlights of the previous day, I followed in a daze, seek- 
ing the psychological moment for imparting my great news. 

Suddenly Mother stood erect and with a far-off look in 
her eyes, said, "Well, it was a beautiful wedding, wasn't it? 
And now, I don't want to hear of another engagement in the 
family for a year, at least!" 

"Oh, but Mother!" I gasped, "Henry gave me a ring last 

Needless to say, Mother was only too happy to find a 


special niche in her ample heart for my Henry. Father, too, 
rejoiced in the new son, and we were married on May 14, 

It is almost impossible to write of one's happiness and con- 
tentment in the home. My husband and I were most sympa- 
thetic in our tastes, and in our social life we enjoyed the same 
friends. Henry was one of the amateurs who "strutted the 
boards" for the Zion Literary Society, being cast usually as 
the romantic lover, for he was not only handsome but an 
able actor, as well, with a rich deep voice of unusual beauty. 
Edwin Booth was his ideal and we rarely missed any of the 
performances he gave in Chicago. Henry's volumes of Shake- 
speare were among his most prized possessions and from them, 
in later years, he would often read aloud to our children, to 
their delight. One of my sisters called him "Brutus"; some 
of his friends spoke of him as "the noblest Roman of them 
all", and no description better expresses his character and 
nature than Shakespeare's words, "His life was gentle, and 
the elements so mix'd in him that Nature might stand up 
and say to all the world, 'This was a man!'" He once re- 
marked, "I would like to have the words, 'His life was 
gentle', engraved upon my tombstone." They are there 

After my marriage, my husband's mother and sister, Mrs. 
Fanny Peyser, became members of our household, remaining 
with us throughout their lives, as did a brother, Joseph 
Solomon, who came to us some years later. Those were the 
good old days — now almost legendary — when most of us 
had large homes with plenty of spare rooms. Kitchenettes 
were then not even a dream of the future, and it was not at 
all unusual for family groups to live together under one 
ample roof. 


Never think, though, that to the Henry Solomons two gene- 
rations, numbering five adults, would compose a large enough 
family circle! To us, our house only became a true home 
when our son, Herbert, and our daughter Helen, were born 
during the early years of our marriage, each contributing an 
individual and special quality of joy to our household. Frank, 
the adored little brother, completed our trio of children who, 
from the first, shared in all activities and responsibilities of 
family living and were never relegated to the seclusion of a 

Our first home, on Morgan Street near Van Buren, was 
built in the approved architectural style of the era. Those 
were the days of "basement" houses and both ours and my 
parents' were of this type. On the ground floor were located 
kitchen, dining room, maids' quarters and "furnace room"; 
the second floor contained two parlors and what served in 
our house as a guestroom and was used, in the Adams Street 
house, as Mother's and Father's bedroom. Frequently, in 
other dwellings, this third room was utilized as a library. We 
had no separate library on Adams Street, but I remember 
our overflowing bookcases, there; especially the one filled with 
Grandfather Spiegel's many German and Hebrew books on 
Jewish subjects. Some years after Grandfather's death. Mother 
invited Dr. Felsenthal and Dr. Joseph Stolz to select any vol- 
umes they wished to own; the rest were sent to Hebrew 
Union College, in Cincinnati, where they were installed in 
an alcove as the Moses Spiegel collection. Once, years later, 
when I visited Rabbi Stolz, he read to me from my grand- 
mother's Saturday Afternoon Storybook, a chapter relating 
to the time when Jews might still be polygamous, and giving 
sage advice as to the kind of wives men should choose ! To a 
confirmed woman's-rights-er, like me, there was consola- 







tion in the knowledge that what he read was all ancient 
history ! 

Our house was, of course, furnished in the fashion of the 
day; yes, even to the ubiquitous hat-rack and chatty cuckoo 
clock in the hall. Red damask-covered furniture with carved 
walnut frames filled the parlor with its Brussel's lace curtains 
and "what-nots" bursting with bric-a-brac (that had to be 
dusted, painstakingly, every single day!) The crowning ele- 
gance was a large easel upon which rested a picture of 
Beethoven. The wallpaper in our dining room I can never 
forget, for the part it played in starting our oldest off "on his 
own" ! It happened on the morning that Mary Haas brought 
her little daughter, Valerie, over from her neighboring home 
on Jackson Boulevard, in order that we might see the small 
girl — just a litde older than Herbert — take her first, totter- 
ing steps. Herbert, not to be outdone, immediately imitated 
her performance, and to our great astonishment and delight, 
the two youngsters launched out, simultaneously, upon their 
great adventure, smelling at the large red roses on the din- 
ing room wall paper as, together, they walked for the first 

When Herbert was six, and Helen four, a huge crayon 
portrait of them was given to me as a surprise upon my 
birthday. No household was complete without family por- 
traits, and I confess that I wept in surprise and delight when 
I received the one of our children. It was promptly hung in 
the front parlor and it never lost its charm for me even though 
it seemed to grow longer and broader with each succeeding 
home into which we moved. 

My life was exceedingly full of household tasks in those 
days and, indeed, from the time of the coming of the children 
until they were well along their way, I had divorced myself 


from outside activities. My interest in education naturally 
related itself, first, to the rearing of my children. It was our 
desire to permit them the greatest possible latitude, and I 
truly believe that they never felt restricted in any sense, 
though our household was so complicated a one. Considera- 
tion for the widowed aunt and the bachelor uncle who were 
always a part of their background was taken for granted, and 
this added necessity for courtesy and thought for others was, 
I am sure, an important factor in the development of their 
ability to adapt and adjust, readily, to varying conditions in 
their lives. 

Music continued to be a source of greatest pleasure to us. 
One evening each week amateurs gathered at our house and 
violins, cellos and two pianos brought the classics familiarly 
into our home. We became well acquainted with the masters 
and they contributed one of our most significant recreational 
joys, for those were the times when we who loved good music 
had to do much of the singing and playing, ourselves. We 
had been encouraged as we grew up in "the Adams Street 
house" to value such gatherings. Indeed, my father felt there 
should be no card playing, lest that pastime be substituted 
for hours of music, conversation and happy companionship. 
Our children, too, grew up in the tradition of music and I, 
myself, gave them their first piano lessons. Later, Herbert 
turned to the violin and devoted himself to its study with the 
same faithfulness and scholarliness he brought to all his work. 
Helen, also, was greatly interested in music and, when she 
grew older, was able to play in our eight-handed family 
quartettes. "The Awakening of the Lion" or Schubert's 
"Unfinished Symphony" brought great delight to us and our 
appreciative audiences as we performed them together, my 
sisters Henriette and Helen at one piano, my daughter Helen 


and I at the other. But sister Rose was most frequently the 
"star" of our evenings, for her glorious mezzo soprano seemed 
to us the loveliest we knew, and about her there was ever an 
aura of radiance ... a glow reflecting to all whom she met 
her zest and joy in living. 

Busy as I was in those first years of my married life, I was 
able, nevertheless, to continue reading regularly, and I rarely 
missed spending at least an hour at it each day. Many of 
our friends shared my interest, and the discussion of novels 
and essays afforded us much pleasure and intellectual stimu- 
lation. At the same time, a neighbor and I embarked upon 
a study of astronomy. Surely, we thought, a liberal education 
should include knowledge of the things surrounding us, and 
nothing seemed closer than the heavens where sun, moon and 
stars made their rounds. In my many travels, the friendly 
stars were my companions and, as the planets rose, the fact 
that I could always recognize and locate them gave me a 
feeling of being "at home", wherever I might be. The Book 
of Job provided one of my favorite passages: "Canst thou 
bind the chains of the Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?" 
Words which have always served to strengthen my faith in a 
Divine Order. 

As I read and studied, often the question came to my mind, 
am I what I am, and do I act as I do, because of heredity 
and training, or do intuitions come, perhaps, from Force and 
Spirit surrounding me? I had, for the most part, devoted 
myself to the works of those who were of a scientific school 
of thought, believing that I could best preserve, thus, the 
balance I sought. Now I added Darwin, Huxley, Renan and 
Tyndall to my list, but I also read much of the mystics, un- 
decided whether these would not show me more of truth than 
the practical thinkers toward whom I naturally inclined. 


Desiring, however, to be a person of action, I therefore soon 
eschewed, completely, the field of the esoteric. 

In 1891, the Chicago Woman's Club members devoted 
themselves to reviews of books on ideal states: Plato's Repub- 
lic, Moore's Utopia, St. Augustine's City of God. To me fell 
the task of discussing Spinoza's Theologico-Politicus which, 
because no English translation was available, I was obliged 
to read in German. In the Club's Philosophy and Science 
Department we studied, also, the history of the philosophers 
who had made their precious contributions, each following 
the special path illumined for him. This study, more than 
any other, tended to aid me in my classification and appraisal 
of members of the human family, and I finally decided to 
my own satisfaction that heredity was the cause that shaped 
tendencies in men, but that environment influenced their 
course. Talents were either fostered or stunted, but the great 
powers with which each man is endowed seldom reach their 
highest fruition because of the limitations imposed by circum- 
stances. One must diff"erentiate, however, between talent and 
genius, for the latter appears to flourish, regardless of en- 

The mind is a universe in itself! 




(1 Samuel xiv:12) 

WERE I A FAIRY-TALE HEROINE, I am sure the story would 
record that my god-mother had touched me with her 
wand, at birth, predestining me to a love of travel which 
would prove one of my most frequent indulgences ! For, truth 
to tell, I have been ever an inveterate traveller, starting, they 
tell me, 'way back in 1858 when I was plucked from my crib 
at the tender age of six months, to visit Mother's family in 
New York, then a journey of two nights and a day. 

But for the fact that I have promised myself that this book 
shall be a faithful and true chronicle, I might attempt to 
insinuate, here, some "recollections" of that first journey. 
Alas, such a precocious babe I cannot claim to have been, 
and that trip must go unrecorded, therefore, save for the 
one tangible souvenir still in existence: a wee bonnet of mull 
and lace which a proud relative presented to me, along with 
a resplendent French robe, to adorn me fittingly for my visit. 
The robe must have been worn out by my younger sisters, 
but Mother gave me the bonnet on my tenth birthday, to 
use for my favorite doll and I, in turn, have passed it on to 
succeeding generations to whom it is now a quaint and 
cherished heirloom. 

My next travel experiences were really only dire threats, 
and began at the age of four. Whenever I was displeased at 

■ [53] 

the way my family managed affairs at home or neglected 
to consider my sage advice, I became very haughty and 
announced that I could no longer remain with them, but 
would get on the "brumlibus" and go off to stay with Uncle 
Marcus Spiegel, in Ohio. Upon one such occasion my father 
decided to put me to the test. Giving me a few pennies and 
a bundle of clothing, he escorted me down the steps and 
realistically started me on my way. Kind-hearted and loving 
Mary, a year and one-half my senior, burst into tears and 
pleaded with me to stay at home. Disgusted at her display 
of softness, I responded with a muttered, "Go back, you 
goose! I'm just going to the corner to buy some candy!" 
Never again, though, did I threaten to abandon my family. 
And so it came about, that for all my day-dreams, my first 
real travels did not begin until 1886 when, with my husband 
and his brother, Joe, I journeyed to the East. 

Every incident and impression of our trip was conscien- 
tiously written into the diary I kept as we went along . . . 
forerunner to many similar volumes I have since filled. In 
fact, I suspect that the travel diaries of the "Michael Greene- 
baum girls", if placed end to end, would encircle the globe, 
for it was our custom, when away from home, to record each 
day's happenings and many were the delightful occasions 
when, upon our return, we would come together to read 
aloud the experiences one of our number had enjoyed. My 
diary of 1886 is typical, even to the painstaking mid-Victorian 
flavor we find so thoroughly amusing today, and through it 
one can picture, readily, the mustachioed gentlemen of the 
eighties and their ladies whose swirling skirts swept the ground 
and whose bonnets tied pertly under their chins. 

In the pages of my diary we find, "At parting with my 
children I must confess to a slight feeling of remorse at leaving 


them from choice ... I trust to a merciful future to restore 
them and all our dear ones to me well and happy. 

"We are going at the rate of fifty miles an hour . . . along 
the lake . . . here and there a little country town comes into 
view and vanishes; wild flowers grow along the road and 
seem happy to grow in their own artless way without being 

"It is a difficult task for anyone but an agent or a reporter 
to write up a railroad, so let this short description suffice. 
I would say, anti-monopolist that I am, I must admire the 
railroad monopoly for the excellence, comfort and general 
success of its undertakings. One of its chief features is the 
dining car. One can now sit down to dinner as cozily as at 
home, not taking the old 'twenty minutes for breakfast' at 
a station, but have an excellent meal while whirling along. . . . 
By the way, for comfort's sake, one's baggage on such trips 
as this should consist of a grip-satchel. . . . 

"From Fall's View we first beheld Niagara Falls. The 
air was bracing, and altogether a sense of supreme delight 
filled us as we beheld the beautiful scene, a feeling of awe 
for a Creative Mind that clothes Itself in such wondrous 
beauty. . . . How to convey an impression of Niagara's gran- 
deur, I do not know. No words, no picture, can portray its 
majesty, its power or beauty. It would be like breaking a 
piece of marble from the Venus de Milo and asking you to 
imagine the statue from that fragment." 

So I write on, in the manner of 1886, detailing the suc- 
cession of events and the procession of scenes that delighted 
and enthralled me. The Suspension Bridge — wonder of 
wonders of the American eighties; the new Cantilever struc- 
ture; the rapids and the whirlpool and the endless leaping 
of the spray, the color of the waters changing from white to 


gray, from dark blue to black and green to rose; the eternal 
rainbow at the foot of the Falls all come in for wordy de- 
scription. So, also, did the paradoxical and unpoetical cries 
of the photographers who insisted upon producing a picture 
for posterity, as they posed us, in the stiff, startled-fawn 
manner of the day, against the background of the Falls! 
There, then, for one moment one might forget how puny 
is the frame of man beside the mighty Niagara, for the photo- 
graphed male of that era was a truly impressive figure ! 

Amusing in the light of present-day achievements is the 
paragraph from my diary telling of our ride down an "endless 
shaft. One drawback I must not forget to mention is the 
'talking machine' at the bottom. It tells you, in the most 
monotonous tone, of all the suicides of the place." The use 
of the talking machine — forerunner of the Victrola — as a 
substitute for announcer, guide or advertising medium must 
have seemed a modern and wonderful innovation to us, then ! 
There is no indication in my diary, however, of a vision of 
the gigantic future accomplishment of the harnessing of Ni- 
agara's water power. 

To my diary, too, I confided my thrills as I viewed, for 
the first time. Lake Ontario, the Thousand Islands, the St. 
Lawrence River and Montreal; of the ecstacy of the mountain 
air in the Adirondacks and the patriotic fervor awakened at 
Fort Ticonderoga where "only a few ruins remain to remind 
us of its stormy days." The towering mountains that make 
of Lake George a spot of secluded beauty struck me with 
deepest awe, and it was almost with reluctance that we drifted 
down the Hudson River to New York — the New York of 
1886 — a metropolis then, as now; but with what a diff'erence ! 

The following, according to my diary, is what the sight- 
seer of sixty years ago considered of importance there: 


"We had been prepared for New York by the advertise- 
ments high up on the PaUsades, but how could we have vis- 
ualized a city of such proportions? We were unprepared for 
what we really found. We drove through Fifth Avenue and 
saw the residences of those whose wealth is fabulous. The 
street itself is a mass of brown-stone houses, monotonous in 
architecture, many of them closed for the summer, and their 
occupants away at the seashore. What a relief it was to arrive 
at Central Park. . . . 

"We enjoyed the scene along the Hudson as we took a 
carriage and traversed a pleasant road called the Riverside 
Park that leads to Grant's tomb and the monument. At the 
tomb we gaze with reverence upon the structure that holds 
the remains of the celebrated hero. . . . 

"We plan to see old New York, made famous by Oliver 
Optic and other writers of our youthful days, who told of 
Baxter and Division and Chateau and Hester Streets and 
the Bowery. Thither we went next day. Baxter Street was 
packed with human beings, groups of varying types and chil- 
dren so numerous that they seem to grow under one's feet. 
Division Street is the Broadway of the East Side. On one 
side of the street there are only millinery stores, one after the 
other, at least a hundred, and since everyone seems hatless, 
who will ever wear the hats? Chatham Street is very respect- 
able as is also Five Points with its old reputation gone. Having 
satisfied our curiosity, we drove to see Brooklyn Bridge, the 
great achievement of its day. Then on to Coney Island. At 
one end the poorer classes enjoy their sports just as much 
as the more prosperous group, at the other. Brighton Beach 
is the west end of Coney Island. As soon as one arrives at 
Brighton Beach one sees the elephant, an immense creature 
made of wood, fitted out as a large beer saloon. Brighton's 


five carousels and numerous beer saloons with orchestrians 
all combine noise, and the strains of music bewilder one. 

"At seven we took the boat for New York. ... It was just 
dusk. In the distance we saw Brooklyn Bridge which, with 
its lights resembling a diamond necklace, seemed but a short 
distance away. We caught a glimpse of the fortifications of 
the harbor and saw the place where the Bartholdi Statue of 
Liberty will be erected. 

"This morning, after packing our satchels, we started out 
for Tiffany's, the wonderful jewelry store. . . . We were told 
not to miss the Eden Musee, copied from museums abroad, 
showing historical happenings and persons, and depicting, in 
wax, a Chamber of Horrors . . . Garfield's Death . . . cele- 
brated persons . . . the crowned heads of Europe . . . also our 
presidents. We visited the Jewish Synagogues and some char- 
itable institutions, among them Temple Emanuel . . . and 
the Mount Sinai Hospital. 

"One day we visited friends at Long Branch, the most 
popular of resorts, and had our first view of millionaires' 
summer homes. We saw the cottages of President Grant, the 
house in which Garfield died. Garrison's Cottage and many 
others. We took a ride through the countryside along the 
Hudson River and visited the piers where the big boats leave 
for Europe. Will we ever take one of them? How I longed 
to be of the crowd on the Westerland, bound for Bremen ! . . . 

"We did quite a little shopping in New York, most of it 
at Macy's, where we purchased toys for the children. We 
also went to Strauss' Crockery House and bought some pres- 
ents. We met old Mr. Strauss and Mr. Nathan Strauss, both 
of whom gave us a cordial greeting. 

"We have been most favorably impressed by New York, 
especially by its fine charitable institutions and by the places 


nearby to which all can go for Saturdays and Sundays. The 
means of gratifying the desire for recreation which the rich 
and poor share alike seems far ahead of all other cities. On 
Saturday at one o'clock all business ceases and everyone from 
proprietor to clerk rushes in search of rest and pleasure. We 
carry away from New York the pleasantest recollections. 
Brother Joe holds as his fondest memory a glimpse of the 
residence of Samuel J. Tilden whom he so greatly admires." 

Joe, who was much interested in politics, lived at that 
time in DuQuoin, one of the larger cities of Southern Illinois, 
and was its highly honored mayor. He became a confirmed 
Democrat, when Benjamin Harrison was elevated to the pres- 
idency of the United States, supposedly defeating the Demo- 
cratic candidate, Tilden. Tilden would never allow the 
result to be investigated, thus becoming a hero in the eyes 
of many who believed the election unfair and open to question. 

We left New York for Washington, going by way of Phila- 
delphia, and much enjoyed our stay at the Willard Hotel 
which was then famed as the home of many senators and 
congressmen. We were fortunate, in Washington, in visiting 
all the places of interest there, and in being introduced 
to many of our statesmen, including the Secretaries of State, 
Navy and War; Bayard, Whitney and Endicott. Attorney 
General Garland and Postmaster General Vilas we met, as 
well, and were, in each case, extended the utmost courtesy. 

But for me, the most impressive moment came when we 
were taken to the White House to meet President Cleveland 
— the first President I had ever seen — and whom we found 
both pleasant and cordial. We were invited to inspect the 
White House at our leisure, and were provided a guide to 
show us through the various departments, including the Presi- 
dent's second-floor office. Later, the wife of one of our con- 


gressmen took us to Mrs. Cleveland's reception which was 
one of a series given on Tuesdays and Fridays for members 
of Congress and their friends. But let my diary tell the story 
for me: "We arrived at twelve o'clock and found that many 
others had preceded us. The reception, held in the Pink 
Room, lasted from twelve to two. Mrs, Cleveland is a beautiful 
young woman, gracious and lovely. We went then into the 
Blue Room, noted because President and Mrs. Cleveland 
were married there. The long parlor of the White House 
in which large parties are held is furnished in olive color 
and has beautiful mirrors and chandeliers, as well as pictures 
of George and Martha Washington. The room has the at- 
mosphere of a private house." 

Though, in later years, I was privileged to visit the White 
House many times and to meet almost all our presidents 
since Cleveland, I need no diary record to bring back most 
vividly the breathlessness of that first momentous experience ! 

After Washington, as we turned homeward, I confided to 
my diary (with apologies to the railroad company), "But, 
oh! the ups and downs of the B. and O., in 1886!" 



(2 Samuel xx:l) 

IN THE SPRING of the year, 1890, Mother and Father left the 
much-loved Adams Street house for one on South Park 
Avenue, near Thirty-Third Street, and Henry and I moved 
our household from Morgan Street to Lake Park and Fortieth 
— the last of our clan to become residents of the South Side. 

Our departure from Morgan Street was considered, more 
or less a matter of course. I had gone there as a bride, and 
there our three children were born. In this same house, too, 
Henry's mother — a gentle, noble soul to whom I was deeply 
attached — had died, in 1887. Our life on Morgan Street 
had rounded itself out; we were ready,, now, to begin a new 
cycle in a more modern section of the city and this move, 
we felt, would bring advantages to each of us. 

But . . . abandoning the Adams Street house — ah, that was 
different ! And what a wrench it was to part, with such final- 
ity, from that beloved home of our youth which had been, 
throughout the years, the port and harbor for the Michael 
Greenebaum children and their families. The hold this dwell- 
ing had upon us is best illustrated by a story we grin about, 
to this day. For many years, our father and brothers worked 
together in their hardware store and each day they rode home 
together, at noon, for dinner. One day one of my married 
brothers arrived with the group and assumed his accustomed 


place at the table. When Mother turned to him to inquire 
about his wife and baby, he jumped as if shot from a cannon, 
aghast and dismayed to realize that he had automatically re- 
verted to the old custom of coming "home to Adams Street" 
for his noon-day meal, forgetting, for the moment, that he 
now had a home, a wife and a child of his own! To the 
credit of his wife, be it reported, she, too, found it amusing. 

By this time, other marriages had brought added joy to 
our family circle, and new, deeply cherished sons or daughters 
to our parents. My brother Mose chose Rose Simon, a beau- 
tiful young woman, to be his wife; Henry brought us Esther 
Loeb whose rare selflessness enriched the lives of everyone of 
us; to our delight, Gus married Leah Friend. All these charm- 
ing young girls had been members of our social circle and 
each was most happily welcomed into the clan. The last 
wedding in the Adams Street house was that of Helen, to 
Henry Kuh, and thus only Ben and Rose remained at home 
to move, with Mother and Father, to the South Side. 

Yes, the Adams Street house was dear to all of us ! 

After we married, Friday of each week brought us together 
there for our special evening reunion. When we left to return 
to our respective homes. Mother always refused to allow the 
chairs to be set back in place that night, because she loved 
to come into the parlors the next morning and picture each 
of us as she had seen us seated the night before. 

But now our families were settling on the South Side of 
Chicago, and it was only common sense for our parents to 
move into a smaller house in the heart of the area where 
most of us were locating. We Solomons, in the Oakland dis- 
trict which began at Thirty-Ninth Street, were the farthest 
away. We found the neighborhood ideal for the children be- 
cause it was like a small suburban community and the rela- 


















X e a 


'-^ J 

tionships established with others of their age seemed right for 
them. The Oakland School ranked exceptionally high, and 
the name of the principal, Mr. Speer, remains important in 
modern pedagogy 

My sister, Rose, married Joseph N. Eisendrath shortly after 
moving to South Park Avenue, and she and her husband 
rented the house next door to ours. Their outdoor back-porch 
stairs were adjacent to ours, and the separating fence at the 
top was cut away so that we could run back and forth. Inside 
our houses, the wall partitions were not thick and a knock 
from either side brought us flying to the front windows for 
interchange of messages. One evening our son, Herbert, had 
a particularly difficult arithmetic problem which so intrigued 
his father and uncle Joe that they worked over it, at our din- 
ing table, the entire evening — but to no avail ! Long after 
the Eisendraths had gone home, Henry continued with the 
figures, to meet with success, at last! Jubilant, he pounded 
on the wall and though Rose and Joe were already asleep, 
the knocking brought Joe flying to the window. "I've got it!", 
cried Henry. "You've got what?" blared Joe. "The answer 
to the problem," gloated my husband. "Well! Of all the 
blithering nerve!" Joe complained, as he shuddered and shiv- 
ered in the cold, "So you've got the answer! But what I'm 
getting is tonsilitis! For this important news item I could 
honestly have endured waiting until morning!" And with a 
bang of the window he dashed back to the comfort of his 

At the corner of our block lived Lyman Trumball, a great 
statesman and one of the most distinguished United States 
senators ever sent to Washington from Illinois. He had served 
three terms in the Senate and would have been reelected 
again, without doubt, had he not had the temerity to cast 


the vote which saved President Andrew Jackson from impeach- 
ment. When the Senator died, the whole neighborhood was 
stirred. My daughter's first community enterprise consisted 
of the collecting of money for a floral piece from the boys 
and girls of the block. With a feeling of participation in a 
patriotic situation, the children were then permitted to file 
past the coffin, most of them a bit terrified, since it was, for 
them, in many instances, a first experience with death. 

The simple Trumball house still stands, its wooden exterior 
now stuccoed, and bearing a bronze placque that gives it 

In the block below ours, on Lake Avenue, were the fine 
homes of the McWilliams family. President McKinley once 
came to visit in one of them and the children of the Oakland 
School were taken there to march past their President and 
shake his hand. Frank, and a few of his little friends, missed 
the school parade but, with the dauntlessness of youth, they 
determined to go by themselves, and actually won the oppor- 
tunity of seeing the President, alone ! 

Mother and Father did not live long in their house on 
South Park Avenue, for soon after Rose's marriage they came 
to dwell with the Eisendraths, next door to us. Here, on 
September seventeenth, 1893, my father passed away as the 
result of a severe mastoid infection which the limited medical 
skill of that day could not overcome. Then, even with all 
her devoted sons and daughters about her, our mother was 
alone! On March twelfth, 1897, at Mary's home, she too 

At the time of the dedication of the new Sinai Temple and 
its Center, in 1912, there was a special service for the women's 
organizations that had met regularly in the old Synagogue's 
vestry rooms. As he referred to the Sarah Greenebaum Lodge, 


Dr. Emil G. Hirsch spoke these cherished words about my 
mother: "Sarah Greenebaum! Who knows it not that the 
name here in Chicago recalls a noble woman's life; a Jewish 
woman to whom must be applied in sober truth the Biblical 
description of the ideal woman said to have been written by 
a kingly author. A 'woman of power' was Sarah Greenebaum, 
and although we may say of her daughters that they have 
done valiantly, of her we shall sing, 'Thou, the mother, hast 
outrisen them all'. . . . she was an exemplar and incarna- 
tion of the genius of Jewish womanhood, Jewish piety and 
Jewish loyalty." 

Mother and Father happily saw all of their girls and boys, 
with the exception of Ben, married, and Mother lived to re- 
joice in the lovely, thoughtful young woman, Hattie Weil, of 
Youngstown, Ohio, who had promised to become Ben's wife. 
At the time of Mother's death, there were already thirty- 
three grandchildren to carry on, into the future, the Greene- 
baum tradition. 




(Psalms cxxxiii:!) 

THE Lake Avenue home was ours until 1897 when we 
packed up our belongings, put our furniture in storage and 
arranged to spend the summer in Rogers Park which, though 
now a thickly populated section of the city, was then a wooded 
suburb. From the beginning of May to the end of the school 
year we, with our children, went to live at the always hospit- 
able home of the Charley Haases, on South Park Avenue. 

Those were, indeed, gala days ! My husband and Charley 
Haas had been intimate friends for years, and Mary and I 
were now, as in childhood, constant and sympathetic com- 
panions. Because we held in common almost every enterprise 
in which either of us embarked, we and our families were 
accustomed to being much together. It was natural, there- 
fore, that when we departed for Rogers Park, the Haas chil- 
dren, Gus and Rose, should accompany us while the Haas 
home underwent a renovation. And what a re-decoration it 
proved to be! Those were the days when one was not satis- 
fied with a mere freshening coat of the latest shade on one's 
walls. So simple a procedure was then unthinkable! No, — 
a real artist was engaged to paint friezes on the walls, to 
festoon the ceilings with posies or to lend a woodsy touch 


by means of flocks of birds and hovering butterfles! And 
sometimes, as a finishing, enterprising touch — the epitome 
of decorative elegance — would be added an entire scene, all 
in the favorite Delft blue of the day ! 

The red-brown stone house at Michigan Avenue and 
Forty-Fourth Street, which was to become the property of the 
Henry Solomons, was likewise re-decorated to the last square 
inch, with aesthetic motifs reflected even in the wash basins. 
Spacious rooms and the last word in trappings of the era 
were ours, thereafter. 

Our Herbert was attending St. John's Military Academy 
and we had been in our new home but a few days when a 
telegram from his school informed us that our son was ill 
and was coming back to us. 

For two years following that fateful message the special 
thought of our entire household hovered about this beloved 
boy. He had seemed, always, to have been fashioned of ma- 
terial that was not merely of this earth. He was gentle and 
thoughtful, intellectual and musically gifted. Joe Eisendrath 
has set up a laboratory in his basement where he experi- 
mented with chemical processes for the treating of leather, 
and Herbert often accompanied him there. He went to con- 
certs at a time when it was not usual to see boys of his age in 
attendance, and practiced on his violin with diligence, playing 
a violin solo at his graduation exercises in grammar school. 
Many years later, one of his Hyde Park High School teachers 
told me that in speaking of their outstanding pupils of the 
past, one of their number said, "And of course, we haven't 
forgotten Herbert Solomon !" 

We were called upon to part with him in 1899. His nine- 
teen years had been a constant blessing and his loss was dif- 
ficult to bear. But, as one matures, one learns to let gratitude 

, [67] 

for what has been compensate, as far as possible, for the 
sorrow that is inevitably meted out to each of us, and Herbert's 
life was, we know, a happy one. 

Just as, during my parents' lifetime, Friday nights found 
us all together at their home, so Friday evenings at the 
Solomons, now became an established custom. The Haases 
were always expected, and our other brothers and sisters, 
too, all came in turn. 

My sweet-sour fish brought me culinary fame in the family 
circle, and it gave me secret delight to hear a brother-in-law 
exclaim, "Hansie certainly has a way with a goose!" Conse- 
quently, Fridays always found me hovering between desk and 

We did a great deal of entertaining, and my thoughts re- 
turn with special insistence to the recurrent picture of our long 
table, twinkling with candlelight and fragrant with massed 
flowers and festively arrayed with the "best" china, glassware 
and silver. But the crowning happiness was, of course, to be 
found in the dear relatives and friends whose presence pro- 
vided the real fillip to the gathering. 

At different times some of our family moved away from 
Chicago. Each such occurrence brought a pang at parting, 
and their visits home were always a source of great delight 
and occasions of joyous gatherings of the clan. Especially 
was this true when Tress would travel back to us, all the way 
from California ! Many of these celebrations were held at the 
Solomons, and I love to review them in retrospect, recalling 
with each name the qualities and characteristics that made 
each member of the family so special and so dear. 

Tress was a remarkable woman — dynamic, for all her 
fragility; wise, spiritual and courageous. Her letters to us 
were brilliant and we treasured every one. Our good friends, 


the Israel Cowens, deeply impressed with a paragraph in one 
of them, had it beautifully illuminated and framed for me. 
This is what Tress, in her wisdom, wrote: "If we could see 
the whole fabric of our lives spread out, what a wonderful 
meaning it might show — many a thread that we thought 
lost would re-appear and form strange patterns of cause and 
effect. But God holds the spindle and until He cuts the 
thread, we go on adding a bit each day." It is not to be 
wondered at, is it, that the many miles separating us, physic- 
ally, from our oldest sister never, in any way, tended to 
diminish the bond between us? 

Henriette, our scholar, comes next to mind. In addition 
to her very great musical talent, she had notable literary 
gifts, and the capacity for leadership, as well. She was a 
member of the committee for the Jewish Women's Congress 
of the Parliament of Religions and she became the second 
president of the Chicago Section of the Council of Jewish 
Women. At the time of her death, she was especially inter- 
ested in the Illinois Training School for Nurses, serving as 
secretary of its board. Many contemporaries considered her 
the most intellectual Chicago Woman's Club member of her 
day. Its fifth president, she was, in fact, the only Jewish 
woman ever to have held this office, and it was during her 
presidency that the organization acquired the first club rooms 
of its own. 

In Mary, it was her sagacity and quality of heart as well 
as her strength of character that made her outstanding. She 
was honest and outspoken, yet so heavenly kind that people 
of all ages just naturally sought her out as comforter, advisor, 
friend. Her generosity carried everyone along with her to 
participate with enthusiasm in whatever project or pleasure 
she proposed. Mary was a member of our World's Fair Con- 


gress Committee and served on the first national board of the 
Council of Jewish Women. She became particularly active 
in the Jochannah Lodge, where she and Lizzie Barbe shared 
in the highest expressions of affection that the members of an 
organization can give, either personally or as a group. Mary 
is never forgotten! If a woman ever enjoyed immortality on 
earth, it is she, and though she has been gone for many 
years, probably no woman in Chicago has left a greater im- 
press on our Jewish community and her name is always re- 
called with living gratitude and joy. 

Our "litde sisters" were Helen and Rose! Rose, I most 
frequently picture, standing at the piano, singing to us; en- 
chanting with her beautiful voice and lovely face. And Helen, 
the skillful accompanist! Helen, so gentle yet so purposeful, 
so serene yet so firm; so fearless, forthright and intelligent. 
Helen and Rose — each so decided a personality, yet each 
so devoted to the other that we invariably group them to- 
gether in our hearts. The vocation of each was the rearing 
of four children, their avocations and interests were many. 
Helen was, with Henriette and me, an acdve member of the 
Chicago Woman's Club and was chairman of its Education 
Department when it called together persons and organiza- 
tions to discuss the formation of the Joint Committee on Public 
School affairs. Rose devoted much of her time and interest 
to the Infant Welfare Society. 

And my brothers ! Ben, the youngest, became the beloved 
confidant of old and young, alike. At his office each day, 
one found friends who were legion, or children of the family, 
waiting to go to luncheon with him and "talk things over". 
Although he was a man of affairs, he was never too busy to 
help them solve their problems, ever ready to discuss and 
advise, to solace and to aid. Gus, the next older, lived in 


Danville, Illinois, for a time, where he entered fully into the 
civic life of the community. He was a member of Governor 
Deneen's staff and he looked very impressive in his official 
uniform. He, like our uncle, Henry Greenebaum, was stead- 
fast and untiring in his work for the B'nai B'rith. 

Brother Henry was so rare a soul that when one says, 
"Heaven lies about us in our infancy", one feels that more 
must be added for him. He carried heaven with him through 
his entire life! 

Our brother Mose's attitude toward little children was an 
attribute that brought rich returns from them to him. Had 
he been a Pied Piper, I am sure the young people of the 
family, as well as countless others, would have followed 
where'er he led. He, as well as all the others, was meticulous 
and scrupulous in his honesty. 

Beyond what these brothers were as individuals, it was their 
quality as a group that was most noteworthy. All for one, 
one for all, and all for all the rest of us, they remained a 
closely knit unit, and the bond that had held them so firmly 
under our father's roof, continued strong and changeless. 
Their wives, all exemplary, were not alone helpmates to their 
husbands, but encouraged their continued family allegiance 
and themselves joined in with it. So it was, also, with our 
brothers-in-law, each contributing his share of loyalty and 
devotion. Everyone who married into the family, having re- 
ceived a royal welcome from those who already belonged, 
was then made part and parcel of "the clan". And it is a 
joy to look back from the vantage point of eighty-four years 
and realize, anew, that harmony was, at all times, the keynote 
of our family life. And better still, to be able to record with 
veracity that it was a harmony of the heart rather than of 
the mind; a one-ness of the spirit which was the host at every 


gathering. As one of my sisters-in-law remarked to me the 
other day, "I have been a Greenebaum for over forty years, 
now, Hansie, and never once have I heard a single discordant 
note!" Perhaps a contributing factor was a natural gayety 
and a gift of enjoyment. We loved to laugh together ! Never- 
theless, a new member of the Greenebaum clan never lost 
any of his close associations with his own group by this incor- 
poration process, for — be it said to the wisdom of our 
parents — their children as sons and daughters-in-law became 
an integral part of, and a source of strength to the family 
into which each entered. 

And so, we Greenebaums possessed an immense capacity 
for celebration, and so large a family that there was always, 
in the offing, some reason for it. If there was no legitimate 
excuse, we were quick to invent one ! 

Harry, Milton and Lina Greenebaum, the children of our 
Uncle Jacob, were orphaned when they were young, and had 
been cared for by "little Uncle Henry" and Aunt Emily, who 
loved and nurtured them as though they were their own. 
These cousins were always included in the clan get-togethers, 
as were Lina's husband, Alex Bergman, and their two children. 
Numbers never daunted the hardy Greenebaums, and so 
each birthday, as it came along, was celebrated with great 
festivity. The younger generation, too, knew that each could 
count on their aunts and cousins making much of their special 
day, and some of the older ones could remember when my 
mother and father also came; Father always bringing a large 
round shining silver dollar as a birthday gift. Nor dare one 
overlook the occasional "noodle parties", so-called for the 
prescribed menu of chicken, noodles and ice cream; and woe 
betide the aunt who attempted a substitute in the form of 
rice or apple sauce ! We thought them an exceptional group, 


that coming generation. Some of them did, too ! When, dur- 
ing their engagement, Ben brought Hattie Weil from Youngs- 
town to become acquainted with us, one of our nieces over- 
heard Hattie express her pleasure in her new sisters and 
brothers. "Hm-m-m," murmured the youngster, "just you 
wait till you get to know us children!" 

The family picnic tradition carried on, meantime; the 
August crop of birthdays was always sure to produce some. 
One especially gay affair was marked by a ride to Lincoln 
Park, atop a huge tallyho. Then, in Washington Park by the 
pavillion was a spot we considered ours, as well as a large 
three-cornered plot with huge shady trees, in Jackson Park. 
This lovely picnic space was beside Lake Michigan, known 
to some of the older children as "Grandma's lake", because 
my mother specially loved it and delighted to be driven there 
by Mary, in the Haas surrey. What an important accessory 
Mary's surrey proved to be ! Many a time it carried some of 
us off on a pleasure jaunt and often we drove to the band- 
stand in Washington Park where, of an evening, Chicago 
enjoyed open air concerts. 

Perhaps most unique of all our family "doings", however, 
was the family auction ! I know that some people do not like 
to wear the garments of others, but with a quirk all our own, 
we always did, and so this event was hailed, unanimously, 
with greatest glee! It was an invention of my sister. Rose, 
and as long as the Eisendraths lived in their Grand Boulevard 
house, the auctions — one in spring and one in fall — were 
held on their top floor. Later, we all took turns at having 
our houses the scenes of these mirth-provoking and glorified 
rummage sales and no functions of which I have ever heard, 
contrived by any other family, have equalled the ridiculous 
and gay possibilities of our "auctions". A strictly "For Ladies 


Only" affair, each participant was expected to bring articles 
of apparel with which she was willing to part, and these 
were auctioned off to the highest bidder. Once a garment 
was up for sale, no last-minute change of heart was tolerated, 
and it frequently happened that a member of the group would 
have to buy back an article she, herself, had contributed and 
decided — just too late — she'd prefer to keep! In fact, one 
niece had to pay a pretty penny in order to re-purchase her 
brand new spring hat, inadvertently included among the auc- 
tion merchandise! Mary and Rose were our most effective 
auctioneers and some of the nieces made very attractive mod- 
els as they paraded in our fashion show. No money ever was 
paid to the seller, for all proceeds were donated to some 
charity; originally, to Rest Haven, the convalescent home 
sponsored by Sarah Greenebaum Lodge. Before the auction 
itself, luncheon was served, and sometimes the men of the 
family were permitted to join us for coffee, at four o'clock. 

In the Michael Greenebaum tradition, however, our annual 
New Year's Eve celebration was, by all odds, the most elab- 
orate and gala occasion! In this festivity, all the children 
who had attained the age of fourteen were allowed to join, 
and so eagerly did they anticipate this gathering that none 
ever dreamed of accepting invitations that would prevent 
their attendance. On the contrary, they used to plead with 
their parents to lower the age-limit in order that they might 
be privileged, earlier, to join in the fun, and many who, as 
they grew up, married out of town, would make every effort 
to return to Chicago to celebrate the coming of the New 
Year with the family. 

For the program, a sort of vaudeville performance was in- 
stituted, and each person attending was expected to make a 
contribution, either individually or in groups. Each year there 


were a few serious features, Henry Frank always preparing a 
timely and scholarly essay; Henriette a newspaper which she 
called The Sylvestor Echo, and I wrote the "Minutes" — a 
recording of the history of the year's happenings. 

On this one night each year, an unwritten law provided 
opportunity for affectionate fun-poking at individual foibles 
and idiosyncracies, with the guarantee that no one's feelings 
could be hurt and no sympathy would be wasted on touchi- 
ness. And what eye-openers some of us experienced as we 
were given glimpses of ourselves "as ithers see us" ! 

Since most of the acts were composed within the week 
between Christmas and New Year's Eve, perfection was not 
expected of the finished productions and as much fun went 
into the preparation of our "stunts" as in the program, itself. 
The younger generation performed in a troupe and managed 
to create, with original costumes and ingenious props, a show 
of no mean proportions. The brothers and their wives always 
astonished and delighted us with an elaborate topical skit 
which they acted, together, and there were always letters and 
messages from those who, perforce, must be absent. Midnight 
usually found us — sixty strong — at supper, greeting the New 
Year with toasting, speeches and song. Always, as the hour 
for parting drew near, we ended the evening by singing the 
family song which Mary had written for one of Mother's 
birthdays. This we sang in German, to the tune of "Laute 
Schone Leut Sind Wir" ("Fine People Are We") — a ditty 
that grew, in time, to awe-inspiring length, as a verse was 
added for each person who married into the family. Nor dare 
I overlook mention of the grab bag ! For this everyone brought 
fantastically wrapped packages and, as a grand finale, we 
each in turn drew out a gift. And what a comparing of 
"grabs" then ensued . . . and what a trading, as one of the 


boys, perhaps, "swapped" his powder box for a girl cousin's 

At the New Year's Eve party shortly before his death, 
Father said to us, "Breaks in our family ranks are inevitable 
. . . but these gatherings must be uninterrupted." And so 
there was never any question in our minds about continuing 
these celebrations. When, from time to time, death visited 
one of our homes and saddened our entire family, the mem- 
bers of that household were with us on New Year's Eve, even 
though the day of bereavement had been very recent, and 
grief found its own solace in the comfort of being together. 
In our midst, just as happiness was shared, so, too, was sorrow, 
and I remember only twice that our New Year's festivities 
were suspended; once because of the Iroquois Theater Fire 
when, on December thirtieth, 1903, so many lives were lost 
so tragically, and again when Charley Haas died, on Decem- 
ber thirtieth, 1928. 

Thus, "in the hearts of those who cherish their memories," 
have we ever kept vibrant the spirit of our loved ones, in 
remembrance that continues to gladden our lives. 




'Laying Her Hand to the Distaff" 


(Malachi ii:10) 

IT WAS 1893 ... a year when a world's fair was to com- 
memorate the four-hundredth anniversary of the discovery 
of America, and though many rival cities sought the privilege 
of being named the Fair site, it was Chicago to which the 
United States government granted the honor. 

"Chicago", groaned some members of Congress, in vocif- 
erous and angry protest. "Chicago? How can a city where 
people sit out on their front steps in summer be a proper 
place for so great an exposition?" The violent objections 
were coupled with the gloomiest predictions and complete and 
dire failure of a Chicago fair was prophesied in many quarters. 
Now, it was quite true that in those days Chicago boasted 
no country clubs, and a paucity of diversion spots, and it 
was, indeed, the custom, on warm evenings, to drag hall 
rugs out of doors, allowing them to trail down the long stone 
steps in front of the houses. Upon these the younger members 
of the family would drape themselves, while the oldsters 
swayed in rocking chairs on the verandahs, trying to fan 
away the heat. That did not mean, however, that they were 
strangers to the amenities a great exposition imposed! Yes, 
even though royalty might attend, Chicago was confident 
she could hold her own ! 

It was 1893 . . . the year for a world's fair! And a year 


that marked the beginning of women's collaboration with 
men in civic projects in Chicago. 

Preparations for the World's Columbian Exposition entailed 
many exciting obligations on the part of the Chicago Woman's 
Club. Two of its members, Mrs. Potter Palmer and Mrs. 
Charles Henrotin, were made chairman and vice-chairman of 
the Board of Lady Managers, which included representatives 
from every state in the country, and under their supervision 
women's participation was to be organized and established. 
A special building for women's exhibits was planned, and an 
auxiliary to arrange for women's congresses was formed. In 
addition, the Chicago Woman's Club was appointed to act 
as official hostess at receptions scheduled in honor of the 
many distinguished guests who would participate in the con- 
gresses. So it came about, that we met not only the noted 
women of our own country, but many- from abroad, as well. 
Club members served on committees of all congresses and, 
beginning our work in 1890 and continuing until the Fair 
was history, were enabled in this way, to make our contribu- 
tion toward the great impetus then given to Chicago's artistic, 
spiritual and educational life. 

I was honored, by those who were planning the women's 
congresses by being made representative of the Jewish women, 
and was further authorized to call Jewish women together 
under whatever division or divisions I thought best. Since 
I believed then, as I do now, that when we use the word 
"Jewish" it must have a purely religious connotation, I felt 
that our place should be with the Parliament of Religions 
which was to be one of the great features of World's Fair 
year. A women's board was organized to aid in furthering 
the Parliament, and I was made chairman for Jewish women's 


Today, with our ready telephonic communication; with 
radio messages flashing across the continent in the twinkling 
of an eye; when airplane travel permits one to lunch in Chi- 
cago and dine in New York; when every organization pub- 
lishes printed membership lists of easy accessibility, the task 
confronting me in the early nineties seems, perhaps, a fairly 
simple one. To me, in 1891, it appeared colossal — and 
with reason! Somehow, some way, I must gather together 
America's outstanding Jewish women. But how could I go 
about it; how reach the right women? Not only were there 
no organization lists available . . . there was not even a fed- 
eral organization ! The problem of establishing contacts was 
a poser that gave me the utmost concern. After much thought, 
however, I determined to write a personal letter to leading 
rabbis of the larger cities and communities, requesting them 
to send me the names of the women in their congregations 
whom they felt would have the most to offer to such a Parlia- 
ment, in the way of ability, interest and leadership. First, 
of course, it was necessary to secure the names of these rabbis 

— a process entailing much time and energy. Then, when 
I received a response from each of these spiritual leaders, all 
of whom proved most genuinely interested and cooperative, 
I wrote ninety letters (all by hand, and each one personal!) 
to the women whose names had been suggested. I began to 
work toward this end in 1891, and it was almost a year later 

— a year of planning, conferring and incessant letter-writing 

— before I was satisfied that we could, indeed, present a 
Jewish Women's Congress worthy of the stirring Parliament 
of Religions. The gratifying results and the enthusiasm evi- 
denced at the end of this year's work more than compensated, 
however, for any effort expended. 

Two questions were at first involved: one, — should we 


have a congress; two, — would it have permanence, or would 
it be a brief bright tale in which was written, "they met and 
parted"? In a flash, my thoughts crystallized to a decision: 
we will have a congress out of which must grow a permanent 
organization ! 

It was a moment of real elation when I was able to announce 
to the Woman's Board that the Jewish women would con- 
vene, and to present our plans. 

The first step had been to appoint a committee chosen 
from among the leaders of our local Jewish organizations, 
augmented by representative women from other cities. In- 
valuable and sage counsel was given me by my constant 
advisors, Dr. Emil G. Hirsch and Mrs. Charles Henrotin. 

How gratifying the day when I could report definite pro- 
gress and request two places for Jewish women on the general 
Parliament program. We had selected two remarkable 
speakers: Henrietta Szold, then secretary of the Jewish Pub- 
lication Society, who chose as her topic, "What Judaism Has 
Done for Women", and Josephine Lazarus, a brilliant thinker 
who wielded a powerful pen, and who elected to discuss "The 
Outlook for Judaism." Both papers proved scholarly and 
paved the way for Jewish women, magnificently opening up 
for them many opportunities to speak on Judaism before 
women of other faiths. 

When the Jewish men of Chicago gathered to make plans 
for their congress, I was invited to attend the meeting. After 
some preliminary business, the chairman turned to me, asking, 

"Mrs. Solomon, will you Jewish women cooperate with 
us in our sessions?" 

"Well", I replied, "our plans are already far advanced, 
and assignments have been given our representatives in the 
general Parliament. We will, however, be very glad to join 


with you if you will accord us active participation in your 

The program committee then retired to deliberate, and 
when they returned, lo and behold! not a single woman's 
name appeared in their recommendations ! 

"Mr. Chairman", I inquired, "just where on your program 
are the women to be placed?" 

"Well," hemmed and hawed the chairman, "the program 
seems complete just as it stands." 

"Very well," I replied, "under these circumstances we do 
not care to cooperate with you, and I request that the fact 
of our presence at this meeting be expunged from the records." 

Does it seem that I spoke hastily in saying, before, that 
this year of 1893 marked the beginning of women's collabora- 
tion with men? Though it is obvious that every forward step 
met some such stubborn resistance, we really dare not be 
too critical of these Jewish men, since their attitude was the 
accepted one of that day. After our Women's Congress proved 
to be something of a triumph, however, a number of them 
condescended to acknowledge that we knew better than they 
the achievments of which Jewish women were capable. 

Early in 1893, I journeyed west with my husband and, 
as we traveled, attempted to arouse interest in the Jewish 
Women's Congress and augment the success of correspondence 
so assiduously carried on during the past two years. In Denver, 
one of the leading women invited a large circle of friends to 
hear me tell of our work for the Congress, and of the plan for 
a national organization. Through this fortuitous meeting, I 
secured for our program an admirable speaker on philan- 
thropy in the person of Carrie Shevelson Benjamin. 

Returning to Chicago at the end of May, I again plunged 
into preparations for the congress, with an increased realiza- 


tion of its great value and historic potentialities, for it would 
represent the very first attempt of Jewish women, anywhere, 
to assemble together as an entity, in a great religious gather- 

Even as I think of it I thrill to the remembrance of my first 
view of the Parliament ! Men of every clime had come to- 
gether, under the banner of religion. From Orient and Occi- 
dent they had journeyed, to meet, to teach and to learn. 
Representatives of every country, all joined in unison, lifting 
their voices to sing, "Praise God from Whom all blessings 
flow" ! Years of preparation had resulted in this great bring- 
ing-together, and never has there been more inspiring evi- 
dence of the spiritual achievements . of the human race. 
Followers of Confucius and Buddha, of the Jewish prophets, 
of Jesus and his disciples, as well as founders of other great 
faiths spoke, as one, the challenging words, "Have we not 
all one Father? Hath not one God created us all?" These 
words, at the suggestion of Dr. Hermann Adler, chief rabbi 
of the British Empire, became the keynote of the Parliament, 
and its motto. Dr. Henry John Barrows, pastor of the First 
Presbyterian Church of Chicago, was chairman of the mag- 
nificent conclave, and our most prominent Unitarian, the 
Reverend Jenkin Lloyd Jones, its secretary. Outstanding 
religious leaders presided over the meetings and rapt attention 
was accorded the brilliant addresses. Thousands thronged the 
halls of the new Art Institute in which the Parliament con- 
vened before the pictures were installed, and for seventeen 
days audiences proved too large for the rooms assigned and 
speeches frequently had to be repeated to overflow audiences. 

Harlow Higgenbotham, President of the World's Fair, 
wrote to me at its close, "I think the whole world has reason 
to be proud of our effort. ... I agree with you that our Parli- 


ament of Religions was the crowning glory of our Exposition 
and, in fact, of all time. It did more to unify the peoples of 
the earth and make them more kindly than any other event 
in all history." 

Today, in the light of the burning flame of hatred so re- 
cently ablaze in every corner of the globe, one wonders just 
when, and by whom, the small candle kindled by the Parlia- 
ment in the interest of world harmony and kindliness was 
snuffed out! One may rejoice in the knowledge, however, 
that at least one group . . . our own . . . became unified at 
that congress and will never lose the inspiration there en- 
gendered 1 

Glorious consummation of long months of preparation was 
the opening of the Jewish Women's Congress ! Through it all, 
my own household had been dedicated to the cause. Little 
Frank had added the lisped word, "Juda-ithm", to his vocab- 
ulary, and Helen and Herbert had labored assiduously at the 
important tasks of sealing envelopes and posting letters. I 
must confess, they seemed remarkably unimpressed by the 
Congress, itself! The focal point of their admiration centered 
about my gown of heavy white satin embroidered with large 
golden bowknots, which I wore at the evening reception given 
at the Standard Club, in honor of our delegates. How Jane 
Addams chortled as she told us, later, of a conversation she 
and Mary Rozet Smith had with Herbert and Helen after 
the one session they were permitted to attend. "Aren't you 
proud of your mother?" Miss Smith asked the children. "Oh, 
yes," replied Herbert. "Helen, wouldn't you like to do what 
your mother has done?" queried Miss Addams. "Oh, no," 
Helen immediately responded, "when I grow up I'm going 
to be a lady, like my Aunt Rose!" And here, philosophied 
Miss Addams, was mirrored the distinction of the day: on the 


one hand, a "lady", and on the other, a woman interested 
in "causes"! Rose was, indeed, a lady, but she was also a 
servant in the cause of humanity, brightening in her charm- 
ing and unobtrusive way the lot of many who were in 

My husband's unabated interest in our Congress, and his 
staunch encouragement continued throughout, and when I 
delivered the chairman's address at the opening session, I 
am sure he felt that a truly historic moment in world affairs 
had been achieved ! There, too, sat my father; but my mother 
remained away; a sacrifice she made because it was so difficult 
for me then — as always — to speak in public in her presence. 
There was for me a self-consciousness which I am sure many 
other women experience from a platform when a mother is 
in the audience. Father, however, never missed a session 
of the Congress of Jewish Women, and he and Mother 
were among those most concerned and interested in its 

With these words, Mrs. Henrotin opened the Jewish Wo- 
men's Congress on the morning of September fourth, "The 
great number assembled in response to the call of the com- 
mittee testifies to the universality of sentiment on the point 
of holding a congress among Jewish women. That this meet- 
ing may result in a national organization is my earnest desire." 
She especially delighted my husband, however, when she 
introduced me as the presiding officer, saying, "Mrs. Hannah 
G. Solomon, to whose courage, energy and devotion the 
success of this congress will be due." 

The congress was, indeed, a success! In developing the 
program, our thought was to present subjects relating to the 
Jewish woman, to Jewish problems and the Jewish woman's 
part in their solution. The evening of September sixth was 


especially outstanding. Larger rooms had to be obtained 
for all our sessions, but for this one it was necessary to provide 
a second hall, and to repeat the program. Minnie D. Louis, 
of New York, read a paper on "Mission Work Among the 
Unenlightened Jews" which was discussed by Rebekah Kohut. 
It was of "humanitarian endeavor" among the underprivi- 
leged that they spoke, and of integration into American life. 
Mrs. Louis ended her moving speech, thus, "You Jewish 
women of Chicago, all Israel honors you ! You have inaugu- 
rated a new mission of enlightenment! Like unto Samuel, 
you have gathered us together to unite us, that we may gain 
strength, to arouse in us a thirst for better knowledge of our 
people and our trust, with a more loyal allegiance to both, 
through which we may become invested with that holiness 
that will make even our enemies worship with us." These 
words might, indeed, have been used as the platform upon 
which the permanent organization we were to plan would 
rest. Mrs. Kohut voiced a stirring challenge: "We must not 
be clannish and narrow-minded. Down with the wall that 
divides us from our Christian brother! High up with the 
standard of Judaism in the other camp! Act in every sense 
of the word as American Jews. This is the great lesson we 
must teach. It is a glorious privilege to be a Jew, but it is 
also glorious to be an American!" 

The other topic of the evening, "How Can Nations Be 
Influenced to Protest or Even Interfere in Cases of Persecu- 
tion?", was presented in a paper by Laura Davis Jacobson 
of St. Louis, and in the discussion which followed Jews, 
Catholics and Protestants took part, among them Archbishop 
Ireland of St. Paul and William Onahan, Jenkin Lloyd Jones, 
and Dr. Hirsch of Chicago. All were sympathetic, but none 
could find solution for the insane course taken at that time 


by Russia, whose persecution was then driving the Jews to 
our shores, just as did Germany's, later. 

It was also at this session that presentation was made of 
the "Collection of the Principal Melodies of the Synagogue 
from the Earliest Time to the Present." This beautifully 
bound book of traditional music had been gathered for us 
by a number of noted cantors and compiled by the Reverend 
Alois Kaiser of Baltimore and the Reverend Sparger of New 
York, and touching, indeed, were the words spoken by Mrs. 
Emma Frank who introduced it, thus: "When first the subject 
of a religious congress was spoken of, the idea suggested itself 
to a few of our ardent workers that no more fitting time or 
opportunity would ever present itself for the revival of our 
forgotten and scattered hymns than at this first Jewish Wo- 
man's Congress. That it is peculiarly woman's sphere to 
introduce divine and sacred music into the household is self- 
evident; why should not we, then, deem it a duty to become 
familiar with the beautiful echoes of the past and the histories 
that surround them? .... To many, these revised melodies 
will bring memories of the sweet and pathetic incidents of 
their past lives when, surrounded by those who have long 
since departed, they knew no greater pleasure than to make 
their Sabbaths and other holidays perfect so far as their 
simple mode of living allowed." 

"The present volume", wrote Cyrus Adler, then the Li- 
brarian of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, in his 
preface to our hymn book, "is the first fruit of the organization 
of the Jewish Women's Section of the Parliament of Religions." 
The "second fruit" was to be a national organization; the 
natural outcome of our gathering for the first time as a body 
of Jewish women. The members of the committee and I had 


carried on an extensive correspondence during our several 
years of work. No less than two thousand letters had been 
written, and I still treasure some of the replies to mine. Of 
special significance was the fact that we announced in all our 
communications that, following our congress, permanent or- 
ganization would be attempted. 

Women in the United States, whom we had contacted, 
were requested to call meetings in their communities to choose 
delegates prepared to consider plans for the future, and in 
our congress, twenty-nine cities were represented by ninety- 
three women. 

The presentation of the final plans for organization was to 
conclude the congress. All the material we had gathered 
and the outline we had charted and discussed were therefore 
turned over to Sadie American, of Chicago, who would pre- 
sent them at the meeting. On September third, we met at 
the home of Mrs. Emmanuel Mandel, and framed a resolution 
of organization to be prepared in case none more desirable 
should be forthcoming. 

The closing session terminated in a business meeting, and 
in the resolution brought in by Julia Richman of New York, 
we read, "the visiting essayists and delegates pledge them- 
selves to the support of any permanent organization which 
shall be the outgrowth of this congress." 

Naturally, the question of a name arOused general interest, 
and several suggestions met with only lukewarm response. 
Then came the dramatic moment when Julia Felsenthal of 
Chicago rose to her feet and said, 

"Madame Chairman, I suggest the name 'The National 
Council of Jewish Women' for this organization!" 

Instantaneous and enthusiastic acclaim greeted Miss Fels- 
enthal's words. Immediately, a motion from the floor, followed 


by a quick "second", put the question before the assembly. 
A vote was taken and passed unanimously ! Our organization 
had a name ! 

A committee was appointed to draw up resolutions defining 
the purposes of the new association. After deliberation, the 
following program was brought back to us, and accepted: 

"Resolved, that the National Council of Jewish Women 
shall (1) seek to unite in closer relation women interested in 
the work of Religion, Philanthropy and Education and shall 
consider practical means of solving problems in these fields; 
shall (2) organize and encourage the study of the underlying 
principles of Judaism; the history, literature and customs of 
the Jews, and their bearing on their own and the world's 
history; shall (3) apply knowledge gained in this study to 
the improvement of the Sabbath Schools, and in the work of 
social reform; shall (4) secure the interest and aid of influen- 
tial persons, wherever and whenever and against whomever 
shown, and in finding means to prevent such persecutions." 

A brief statement, that, and simply worded; yet sturdy 
enough to bear throughout these years, the ever-growing 
structure of which it is the keystone. 

And so was born the National Council of Jewish Women 
living symbol of world progress as demonstrated by the 
World Columbian Exposition. 

The Chicago Fair of 1893! How I wish I might write 
words that could convey even a suggestion of its glory! Of 
all the world's fairs I have seen, none has equalled it. James- 
town, St. Louis, San Diego, New York, Philadelphia's Sesqui- 
centennial and Chicago's own Century of Progress ... all of 
them I attended ... all were superb ... but Chicago's ex- 
position of 1893 was peerless in beauty! Unlike most fairs, 
the World Columbian Exposition did not convey the impres- 


sion of the temporary and evanescent as many subsequent 
fairs have done. It possessed an air of distinction and a feeling 
of substance that made it difficult to realize it was but a transi- 
tory creation, not intended to endure. And surely, it has 
endured for those of us who saw it, for great architects, great 
sculptors, great painters and great artists in every field had 
been brought together to create it. The location, in Jackson 
Park, was perfect for the "White City", as it was often called, 
and the wonderful buildings, the landscaped gardens, the 
fountains and statuary provided exquisite vistas in every dir- 
ection. And the marvelous murals! And the splendidly ar- 
ranged exhibits! Indeed, it was not merely a materialistic 
world we surveyed, but one built about a core of idealism 
and beauty. 

At the Fair, I spent much of my time at the Art Palace, 
for I was especially interested in pictures and sculpture. For- 
tunately, at the close of the exposition, our own Art Institute, 
which had served to house the congresses, became possessed 
of many paintings that had been imported to hang in the 
Art Palace. Today it harbors some truly renowned examples 
of the great masters and affords an opportunity for a wide 
education in art. Many new schools have been added since 
those days when "Impressionism" was a breath-taking de- 
parture from the classic and when "Breaking Home Ties" rep- 
resented the ideal in art to a wondering World's Fair public ! 

Literally millions flocked to Chicago during the period of the 
Fair and all agreed that the way the city met the exigencies of 
the novel situation was little short of miraculous. Yes, Chicago 
vindicated herself brilliantly! Chicago — frowned upon by 
some of our Washington solons as ill-prepared to merit the 
great honor bestowed upon her by the government — found 
herself crowned in triumph as the glorious exposition closed. 




(Genesis iv:9) 

MANY OF MY CONTEMPORARIES look backward with nostalgia 
to those "good old days of the gay nineties". But, in 
retrospect, I vision always a different Chicago. My mental 
picture of 1893 is that of a city of such rapid growth that its 
problems were a constant challenge to its citizens. 

There were lacking, as yet, adequate organized means of 
solving these problems. Oh, yes, we had desultory groups 
like the Ladies' Aid and Benevolent Societies; we had Orphan 
Asylums; we had a Home for the Friendless and many indi- 
vidual "ladies bountiful; we had huge Charity Bazaars and 
philanthropists ! But the heightened necessity of more inten- 
sive associated and cooperative organization was becoming 
increasingly evident. 

Perhaps it was the great need of the moment that brought 
forth so remarkable a galaxy of brilliant women, foremost 
among them such notable leaders as Jane Addams, Mary 
MacDowell, Louise de Koven Bowen, Mrs. Charles Henrotin, 
Lucy Flower, Mary Bartelme, Celia Parker Wooley, Ella 
Flagg Young and Julia Lathrop. Certainly, it was the era of 
a sweeping change of technique in civic endeavor ! 

Mrs. Henrotin, realizing that expositions always leave num- 
bers of stranded women and children in their wake, took 
the initiative, as chairman of a committee of the Chicago 


Woman's Club, and again called me to her assistance. Invit- 
ing the cooperation of other organizations, this committee 
opened an emergency workroom in December, 1893, where 
seventy women were given employment. In stores and offices 
we were able to find positions for many more. As did other 
members of the board of the Woman's Club, I assumed 
charge of the workroom one day each week. Not all those 
in need of aid had been World's Fair participants, however. 
One day, when I was in command, an assistant asked me to 
accompany her to a side room where, she said, were women 
who were "speaking a German no one could understand". 
To my great surprise, I realized that these women were talk- 
ing Yiddish which, up to that time, I had rarely heard. Fully 
one-third of them were Russian; part of the large group 
forced to flee from Russian persecution. 

It was unusual, then, to find Jewish wives at work, but the 
husbands of these women were without employment, and 
their families badly in need of money. With other members 
of the Club, I undertook to visit their homes, and thus was 
inaugurated, for me, a new and practical philanthropy which 
resulted in a continuous and constructive cooperation with 
the many Russian Jewish women of Chicago who labored so 
conscientiously and untiringly for their unfortunate friends. 
I realized that it was necessary to create a more general inter- 
est in the recently arrived immigrants, in order to help them 
solve the many problems presented by the new language and 
unfamiliar customs of a strange country. 

In the winter of 1895-96, the Chicago Section of the 
Council held a one-day bazaar at which we realized two 
thousand dollars. Half of this I requested, and obtained, for 
the establishment of a bureau through which women's organ- 
izations could project a much-needed personal service effort. 


Thus was created, in 1897, the Seventh Ward District 
Bureau of the Associated Charities of Chicago, non-sectarian ! 
It was later renamed the Bureau of Personal Service, and I 
served as its chairman for the thirteen years of its existence, 
after which it became a part of the Associated Jewish Charities 
In the beginning, we asked for space with the Jewish Charities, 
but our request was not granted because the Charities Board 
did not wish, at the time, to extend its work. We then estab- 
lished ourselves in the heart of the so-called "Ghetto" district. 
Though we were non-sectarian, we referred all our non-Jewish " 
cases to another branch of the Associated Charities located 
not far away. They, in turn, sent all Jewish cases to us. In 
planning, we decided that those people requiring relief be 
directed to the Jewish Charities and only emergency assistance 
be given in situations which, for other reasons, necessitated 
the Bureau's attention. 

The Council instituted the Bureau as a separate entity, 
apart from its own work, since it believed better cooperation 
with other agencies would be secured if it functioned as an 
independent body. Minnie Low, who had been my secretary, 
became its executive director, and Minnie Jacobs (later Mrs. 
Minnie J. Berlin) her assistant. The Bureau afforded legal 
aid to the Jewish poor, and for this we were able to secure, 
gratis, the services of Chicago's finest lawyers. No work that 
we did was more satisfactory than that which was accomp- 
lished through the courts. Every judge and every official be- 
fore whom we appeared gave us the most courteous treatment 
and invaluable assistance, and cases in which we were inter- 
ested were never lost. Indeed, our advice was often sought. 
Later, we established a direct prison contact, in connection 
with which, Mrs. Berlin did an outstanding service. 

Working in the West Side locality, the Bureau established 


relationships with all possible agencies, including churches, 
synagogues and schools, both public and private. Cases were 
investigated for the Woman's Loan, for the School Children's 
Aid Society and for some of the settlements, Hull House and 
Henry Booth House applications for coal, distributed by 
Henry Lyton, were also passed upon by us. We aided in a 
study of tenement houses and worked for better laws relating 
to them, as well as for their enforcement. We organized and 
supervised, for a time, a Jewish woman's workroom, founded 
upon the plan of the one directed by the Chicago Woman's 

By the time the Bureau became a part of the Associated 
Jewish Charities, it had established a record of splendid 
achievement. Our first report, for the year 1896-97, con- 
tained a survey of the Jewish district where many interesting 
facts came to light. It was found, for example, that there 
were fourteen Loan Societies operated by the Russian group, 
alone, and that in the seven public schools, a great majority 
of the children were Jewish. 

It must be remembered that when the Bureau was opened, 
there were few trained social service workers, even among the 
superintendents, and nearly all women assistants were volun- 
teers. There was little scientific administration of charities 
and practically no collaboration among the different agencies. 
Our methods of administration were entirely inadequate; a 
fact I realized even at that time, and expressed thus, in my 
first Bureau report: "We can no more run charities on the 
old lines than a business house can chalk the names of its 
customers on the barn door." 

During the existence of the Bureau, higher levels were 
reached, a uniform system of records was adopted and a copy 
of all cases aided by Jewish women's organizations was kept. 


New assistants were constantly added to grapple with the 
steadily increasing load. Beginning with our survey, the work 
extended until there was no institution that housed Jewish 
dependents, delinquents or defectives that did not have regu- 
lar Friendly Visitors, in addition to necessary attention from 
the paid staff of the Jewish agencies interested in each case. 
How far that litde candle threw its beam ! 

In 1904, the Bureau secured a summer playground for the 
district. Its director was Sydney Teller, who later became 
head of the Irene Kaufman Settlement, in Pittsburgh — a 
development of the center originated by the Pittsburgh section 
of the National Council of Jewish Women. Great was the 
rejoicing when, still later, a small park, whose location I had 
helped to select and in behalf of which I had used such influ- 
ence as I could, was opened. Known as Small Park Number 
Two, or Stanford Park, its location was especially satisfactory, 
for at one corner stood a large public school and at another 
was Henry Booth House, the setdement established by the 
Ethical Culture Society of Chicago. Shortly after, on yet a 
third corner was erected a beautiful building, the gift of Mr. 
and Mrs. Levy Mayer, which housed The Helen Day Nursery, 
an organization which had been undertaken by my daughter, 
Helen, at the suggestion of Jane Addams. There was, at the 
time, no Jewish day nursery, and Hull House, in the adjoin- 
ing district, was unable to care for the growing number of 
children whose mothers were obliged to work. Helen, just 
out of college, was ready and eager to be of service and she 
was president of the nursery board until her marriage. This 
board was unique in that it was composed, for the most 
part, of women of financial means who had never before par- 
ticipated, personally, in the establishing and conducdng of 
any philanthropic institudon. From this beginning, however, 


may of them developed markedly, contributing greatly in 
other far-reaching branches of social service. 

My first acquaintance with Hull House began when it was 
still the home of Captain Hull and his sister, dating back to 
the days when Halsted Street was a residential avenue lined 
with beautiful trees. The Hull House we know today, how- 
ever, became a social settlement in 1899 and I was privileged 
to know its founders, Jane Addams and Ellen Starr, as well 
as Julia Lathrop, Florence Kelly and Laura Dainty Pelham 
who were among its iirst important workers. All of these 
women gave signal service, but always Miss Addams was their 
leader. For me, any work which she undertook required no 
questioning, and I was always happy to be among her de- 
voted followers, feeling honored to be her friend as well as 
her co-worker. Associated with Miss Addams in her efforts 
were many whose accomplishments cannot be overestimated 
and heading the list were Mrs. Henrotin and Lucy Flower, 
women of rare mentality and broad vision. Every institution 
for children won their interest and assistance, as did all help- 
ful legislation. 

Hull House started as a home in which Miss Addams and 
Miss Starr established themselves as friendly participants in 
the life of a neighborhood inhabited by foreign groups. Now, 
with its many buildings, it occupies one entire city block and 
its influence extends far beyond its physical boundaries. 

The section of Chicago adjoining Hull House developed 
into the Jewish Ghetto. In a report of the Bureau of Personal 
Service for the 1897-99 period, I wrote, "Hull House, our 
neighbor, a beacon-light, carries its cheering rays throughout 
the district, and I venture to say that seventy percent of those 
who love to cross its threshold to receive its inspiration are 
of our faith." In 1892 a meeting was held at Hull House to 


discuss the possibility of establishing a social center in the 
Jewish community, and it was then that the Maxwell Street 
Settlement was brought into being. The Jewish Training 
School, in which my brother-in-law, Henry Frank, was deeply 
interested and of which he was president, had been opened 
in 1890, in the same neighborhood. It had a remarkable cur- 
riculum and a most progressive pedagogic basis, offering a 
program of manual training for the children of immigrant 
families, and proving to be a significant factor in the lives of 
miany who are, today, outstanding citizens. In another dis- 
trict inhabited predominantly by Jews, an exceptional insti- 
tution, quite unique in character, was established in 1903. 
Its object, according to its charter, was "The promotion of 
education, civic training, moral and physical culture, the 
amelioration and social advancement of the Jewish residents 
of Chicago." In a sense, it serves its immediate locality, but 
at the same time it draws interest from persons near and far. 
Originally called the Chicago Hebrew Institute, it is now 
known as the Jewish Peoples' Institute, and is a center of 
widespread influence. 

With the widening scope of women's civic and philan- 
thropic activities, it became necessary, in 1895, to evolve some 
effective method by which the various organizations might 
function cooperatively. Consequently, I asked my cousin, 
Mrs. Martin Barbe, to assist me in calling together all the 
presidents of the Jewish women's associations in order that 
we might discuss the advisability of creating a meeting ground 
for furthering work we all seemed to be advancing more or 
less independently. Lizzie Barbe was then president of the 
Jochannah Lodge, of which she is, today, the beloved and 
honored dean, and I knew that her interests so closely paral- 
leled mine that she would realize, as I did, the crying need 


for such action. She had been one of the most enthusiastic 
delegates to the Jewish Women's Congress, in 1893, and at 
one time served as national vice-president of the Council, 
later becoming an honorary vice-president. Her influence in 
the Chicago section, of which she was the third president, 
has been noteworthy. Through the long years Lizzie and I 
worked in harmony, and the association has made pleasanter 
and more successful every task undertaken jointly. It was 
natural, then, to turn to Lizzie Barbe at this time, and it 
was with characteristic zeal that she, too, went to work. 

Mrs. Henry Adler was, in 1895, president of the Young 
Ladies Aid Society, later known as the Chicago Woman's 
Aid. She and a number of others joined with us to create 
the first Conference of Jewish Women. Twenty-six groups 
came together to take the initial steps in bringing about co- 
ordination, and resulted in "a Conference Committee of the 

Jewish women's organizations formed for the purpose 

of specializing the charity work of these organizations, to pre- 
vent duplication in the distribution of relief." 

This, I believe, constituted the first attempt in the country 
to unite diverse women's groups together in an association 
dedicated to the serving of common goals, and we disbanded 
only when the Associated Jewish Charities came into existence. 

It was in 1900 that the Jewish men of Chicago eff'ected an 
affiliation between the Jewish charities in order to create a 
body which would have the confidence of the public and to 
which direct contributions for the affiliated agencies could 
be made. It was hoped that fine institutions, laboring under 
the difficulty of raising sufficient funds for maintenance, could 
thus be adequately financed and their boards relieved of the 
gruelling burden of meeting deficits. In April of 1900, there- 
fore, the Associated Jewish Charities became permanently 


established and four officers and eight trustees were selected. 
I was the one woman trustee, chosen to represent the wom- 
en's societies on the board, and I worked among these to 
gain support for the federation, since most of them had Httle 
interest in any philanthropies but their own. For one year I 
also served on the board of the Associated Jewish Charities, 
until a ruling was made that no one might be a member of 
that board and continue to sit on the governing board of 
any of its special units, since it was felt that the obligation 
of the Associated's board should lie in securing funds for all. 
Consequently, I withdrew, in order to continue as chairman 
of the Bureau of Personal Service. 

In 1910 it again seemed desirable to create a conference of 
Jewish Women's organizations. The initial meeting for its 
re-establishment was called under the auspices of the National 
Council of Jewish Women, during the presidency of Mrs. 
Emily Weinberg. The Conference of Jewish Women's Organ- 
izations is, today, an important, if not an indispensable asso- 
ciation, acting not only as a clearing house, functioning to 
prevent duplication and overlapping of projects and prevent- 
ing as far as possible conflicting meeting dates, but serving, 
further, in establishing our groups in friendly, sympathetic 
contact. It creates opportunities for the interpretation of each 
unit to the others, thereby providing a medium through which 
all advance together in the interest of the many causes they 
espouse. It is a living refutation of the hackneyed argument 
that women cannot work constructively and in harmony, 
together. - 





WHAT MOTHER DOES NOT WATCH With mingled hopcs and 
prayers her child's each new development? With what 
an intertwining of joy and fear does she see him take those 
first uncertain steps ! And proverbial is her expectation that 
her offspring is destined to become President of the United 
States! We Council mothers followed that immemorial and 
traditional pattern. And, as always, the future for us, too, 
was only a bright hope ! For how could we be certain, despite 
our zeal and confidence, that our child would one day leave 
a noble impress in its wake? That it would boast not one, 
but many presidents? That our infant organization, lusty 
though it seemed, would grow in time to span even the divid- 
ing oceans? No, these things we could not foresee ! And per- 
haps it was just as well that we could not penetrate, in those 
early days, into the misted future, with a consequent growing 
impatience at the necessarily slow development of what we 
sensed, even then, as the logical and limitless potentialities of 
our organization. For, just as careful nurturing and wise direc- 
tion are first requisites in the constructive growth of an indi- 
vidual, so, we knew, it would have to be with the Council. 
If, as we hoped, it would unite all Jewish women — orthodox, 


conservative and reform; if it was to make a vital contribution 
to the religious, educational and philanthropic work of Jewry, 
each new step in its development must, of necessity, be pains- 
takingly planned and carefully considered. It was with this 
thought foremost in mind that I approached, with enthusiasm 
and humility, the gigantic task of perfecting the framework 
of the National Council of Jewish Women, devoting myself 
to this unfinished work for the entire period, from the con- 
clusion of our congress to the end of the year, 1893. 

Rich returns followed immediately ! 

In her report of the congresses, Mrs. Henrotin wrote, "As 
to the permanent effect of so much effort, several associations, 
councils, and innumerable clubs were organized. Without 
doubt, the National Council of Jewish Women was the most 
successful. It practically took on an international character 
.... it was a power for good, not only in America, but all 
over the known world. Mrs. Solomon labored from the 
inception of the Woman's branch to make her congress a 
permanent association, in organizing the Council of Jewish 

The Council's first national officers had been chosen at 
our closing session in the Art Institute. All were Chicago 
women, and I had been honored by election to the presidency; 
Mrs. Emanuel Mandel was made vice-president, Sadie Ameri- 
can, corresponding secretary, Mrs. L.J. Wolf, recording secre- 
tary and Mrs. J. Harry Selz, treasurer. Mrs. Mandel, now 
ninety-three years of age, has been at all times one of the 
Council's staunchest supporters, and her name is revered in 
the Chicago section. She is one of whom it may be said, in 
truth, "Her works praise her in the gates". 

It had been decided that there should be a vice-president 
for each state, some of whom had been elected at the congress. 


I was empowered to appoint the others, as well as to complete 
the board of nine directors. The members of the board were, 
of necessity, Chicago women, since we realized the need of 
frequent consultation. 

After the selection of the board and the national commit- 
tees, my initial task was to plan the first draft of the consti- 
tution, which was then presented, as a working basis, to a 
committee who, in turn, would prepare it for submission to 
the national board. It was accepted as a provisional consti- 
tution to function for three years, at the termination of which 
our first convention was scheduled to take place. 

Chicago's was the first section of the Council, founded in 
January, 1894. A post-card invitation had been sent out to 
the Chicago women who had evinced a particular interest in 
the congress, and one hundred and sixty-four members joined, 
at once ! Speedily there followed the formation of other sec- 
tions, so that at our first triennial, fifty cities in twenty-two 
states were listed. 

The greater part of the work of organization fell, naturally, 
upon the president and the corresponding secretary. The task 
was arduous but the fullest cooperation was forthcoming from 
leaders in each community, for women who were known 
throughout the country were enrolling, with enthusiasm, un- 
der the Council banner, and their zeal enabled the organiza- 
tion to secure a firm footing. Thus, the Council's success is 
due to thousands of Jewish women and their loyalty to Juda- 
ism and all that it imposes. 

How I wish that I might include in these pages a detailed 
story of the Council of Jewish Women! That, unfortunately, 
would require a volume all its own. Impossible, too, is the 
complete recording of all the highlights of the thirteen years 
of my presidency and the four splendid conventions over 


which I presided. But especially do I regret having to leave 
unmentioned, here, the names of many of the fine women 
who have helped make Council history. In our Triennial 
reports they all appear and in my memory, too, all are 
appreciatively inscribed ! 

The constitution of the Council permitted freedom in activ- 
ities to all sections, in order to meet the individual needs of 
each community. It provided, however, for two national 
committees: one on Religion and one on Philanthropy. Soon 
a third, on Sabbath Schools, was established. The program 
for the first three years planned study classes in both religion 
and philanthropy. Pamphlets written by leaders in both fields 
stressed newer methods for religious training as well as in the 
approach to and organization for philanthropy. We advo- 
cated professional social service workers and were among the 
first to urge training for "Friendly Visitors". The report of 
the philanthropy committee revealed that none of the sections 
had entered the sphere of alms-giving, but it listed many 
charitable ventures, classes and clubs for boys and girls and 
every possible aid to immigrants and their families. A num- 
ber of Jewish Sabbath schools were organized for communi- 
ties in which there was neither rabbi nor synagogue and at 
all times we urged the use of professional teachers. 

My first report, as president, was printed in 1895, and in 
that I stressed the necessity for cooperation with other estab- 
lished agencies in philanthropy and personal service and the 
importance of introducing protective measures against delin- 
quency and indigence. There were few precedents to follow 
so that in both our philanthropic and religious undertakings 
we were obliged to experiment. 

Since we had agreed to assemble triennially, the first con- 
vention of the National Council of Jewish Women was to be 


held in 1886, We were now an organization with fifty sections 
and over thirty-three hundred members, and New York was 
selected as our first convention city. So much publicity had 
been given to us that some of the country's larger newspapers 
sent special reporters to New York. Still Victorian in their 
evaluation of women's activities, headlines in a leading daily 
announced, "Meeting of Fair Ones", "Princesses of Israel 
Gather" and "First Convention of the National Council of 
the Daughters of Judah" ! Papers were not yet printing photo- 
graphs, but they produced delightful pen-and-ink sketches of 
the "daring" women attending, copies of which are still pre- 
served in my scrap-books. 

It was at the New York convention that our Council motto 
was adopted. The desirability of having one had been dis- 
cussed by the board in 1895, and suggestions from the sections 
had then been requested. Philadelphia's suggestion was "Faith 
and Humanity", and this recommendation received the most 
votes and was adopted, forthwith. It was decided, at the 
same time, that we have a "badge" and Katherine Cohen, a 
Philadelphia artist and sister of Mary M. Cohen who had 
read a paper at our congress at the Parliament of Religions, 
was commissioned to design a seal and pin. The simple but 
effective pin she produced, with its white and blue ground 
and gold lettering, is worn, with pride, by Council members 

The 1896 response of the male sex to the participation of 
women in discussion of subjects outside the home is very 
revealing. A perfect example of this decidedly "superior" 
attitude was evidenced by a leading rabbi of the day, follow- 
ing a scholarly address by my sister, Henriette, who spoke 
these words at an evening meeting of the convention: "The 
Sabbath is one of the best gifts of Israel to humanity. The 


Sabbath idea is essential to Judaism", she said, "but" (refer- 
ring to the controversial question of the acceptance of Sunday) 
"not the choice of the calendar day, but the manner of its 
observance makes of it the Sabbath." In a newspaper report 

of the meeting the following day we read, "Rabbi 

created a little stir at the close of Mrs. Frank's paper by de- 
claring that women should not meddle with such matters. 
'This is a matter for rabbis to decide', he declared." 

The proceedings of the convention, the first in which our 
women had assembled as a distincdy Jewish organization, 
was printed by the Jewish Publication Society where the re- 
port of the Jewish Women's Congress of 1893 had also 

It was not to be expected that so large a group of women, 
with varying backgrounds and different traditions could al- 
ways see eye to eye ! So it was not surprising that a contro- 
versy should arise at the convention, as it did, over the ques- 
tion of my re-election to the presidency. A number of the 
delegates were orthodox and, believing in the observance of 
Saturday as the day of worship, felt that the president of the 
National Council of Jewish Women should be one who ad- 
hered also to this custom. When, therefore, this issue was 
raised, a speaker from the floor stated that she thought the 
president of the Council should be "one who consecrated the 
Sabbath". Immediately, I countered with, "I consecrate 
every day of the week!" This statement was hailed with 
touching acclaim, and I was duly re-elected. 

My return from New York, therefore, assumed the propor- 
tions of a triumph in our home, and when I arrived in 
Chicago, my husband and children had prepared a royal wel- 
come ! There, above the piano, all decked out in smilax and 
evergreen, was a huge floral piece on which was written, "I 


consecrate every day!", while on an opposite wall hung an 
equally impressive tribute, proclaiming, "Faith and Human- 

My husband's interest and cooperation in everything that 
I undertook was of greatest importance to me. In fact, with- 
out his constant encouragement, I could not have continued, 
satisfactorily, on my wav. He was my chief advisor and many 
a time his ready financial assistance eased the way. Often, 
when problems arose, he aided in their solution, buoying up 
my flagging spirits, sharing in my every endeavor with quick 
understanding and wisest counsel. 

In accepting the invitation of the National Council of 
Women to become an affiliate, in 1894, the Council of Jewish 
Women took a most memorable step, thereby becoming asso- 
ciated with other women of the United States as well as with 
women of the world who were united in a desire to work for 
all humanity. The National Council of Women was composed 
of many organizations and belonged, as a body, to the Inter- 
national Council, as well. Both had been organized in 1888 
under the direction of Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, pioneer 
of pioneers, who as early as 1886 had urged an international 
convention for the cause of woman's suff'rage. It was, in fact, 
the Woman's Suffrage Society which took the initiative in 
calling for a union of the large national and international 
women's organizations and both had been invited to hold 
meetings at the World's Fair Congresses. Thus, through ar- 
duous effort, influential leaders of thirty-five foreign countries 
were brought together in 1893. These representatives voiced 
the belief that organizations which differed in outlook should 
present their points of view in joint meeting, calmly discuss- 
ing their diff'erences and establishing agreements. Here, then, 
was one of the first efforts to eff'ect large associations for the 


purpose of improving world conditions, developing mutual 
understanding and goodwill and attaining increased purpose 
in action. 

The National Council of Jewish Women was invited, like- 
wise, to become a member of the General Federation of 
Women's Clubs. Since the Federation's constitution did not 
provide for the inclusion of religious groups in its member- 
ship, we were asked to join nationally, on the basis of our 
philanthropic work, but because we considered ourselves pri- 
marily a religious body, we refused. The General Federation 
held its first convention, in Chicago, in 1892 and a year later 
a great impetus had been added by newly formed organiza- 
tions, and joint efforts and cooperation became important 
features. In 1894 the federation began to form state federa- 
tions, and these the Council's sections were urged to join. I 
assisted in organizing Illinois, and in 1896 attended the Gen- 
eral Federation convention in Louisville, as delegate from the 
Illinois State Federation and as honorary delegate of the 
National Council of Jewish Women. Many of our sections 
had, by that time, affiliated with the State Federations and 
enjoyed delegate representation. 

In 1895 the Council participated in the convention of the 
National Council of Women, in Washington, sharing an eve- 
ning program with the Women's Temperance Union of which 
Frances Willard was the illustrious president. Temperance 
was then one of the burning issues of the day, and Miss 
Willard presided at the first half of the meeting, I at the 
second. The convention, of course, brought us into contact 
with women who were leaders in the other large national 
organizations, and there I became acquainted with Susan B. 
Anthony, the greatest woman's suffragist, forming a friend- 
ship that lasted as long as she lived. Later, I had the pleasure 


of knowing Carrie Chapman Catt, the remarkable and ener- 
getic woman who succeeded Miss Anthony as president of 
the Woman's Suffrage Society and who remained at its head 
until its object was achieved. Then, with characteristic vision, 
Mrs. Catt devoted herself to efforts in other important fields 
and has continued her blessed work throughout the years. 
Her National Committee on the Cause and Cure of War has 
labored unceasingly in the interest of international under- 
standing and peace. 

The fight for suffrage constitutes a long and interesting 
chapter. Even without the ballot, the influence of women 
had been a factor in the enactment of laws that aided women 
and children, but it was conceded that not until we could 
vote could our strength be exerted to the fullest. The earliest 
crusaders had secured the right for women to hold joint guar- 
dianship of their children. Before that time, in case of a 
divorce, decisions were entirely the father's prerogative, with 
the mother having no claims in relation to her offspring! A 
married woman could not inherit property from her parents; 
it all belonged to her husband ! She could find no employment 
except as a teacher or a servant and she had little opportun- 
ity for higher education. Now these injustices had become 
things of the past, and women were free to direct their atten- 
tion and energy to obtaining suffrage. 

It is almost impossible to gauge the great influence of the 
1893 women's congresses! The cause of women's suffrage is 
surely a case in point. Its congress of representative women 
converted a surprising number of people, men included, to 
the point where suffrage actually became fashionable ! Many 
thinking people realized that it was impossible to make head- 
way against unscrupulous politicians without women's votes. 
When a new constitution was being drawn up for Illinois, 


the section which would have granted suffrage to women was 
beaten by just one vote in the committee drafting the docu- 
ment. Meantime, the sentiment in favor of suffrage had be- 
come so strong that, because of this single omission, the whole 
constitution was rejected when it was presented to the people 
in the election! In 1913 Illinois granted limited suffrage to 
women, but they were compelled to wait for full ballotting 
privileges until 1917, at the time of World War I. 

The historic women's suffrage parade of Chicago was one 
of those unique occasions in which an almost tangible unity 
brought stimulation such as is rarely experienced. Though it 
was held on a miserable, rainy day, our spirits were not af- 
fected in the least, and we proceeded down Michigan Avenue 
with intense enthusiasm, some in carriages, some on foot. Our 
chic uniformed women of today would be heartily amused at 
the suffragette's brand of feminine militancy, but our cause 
was won, nonetheless! 

In its strides toward progressive development, the National 
Council of Jewish Women was keeping in step with the times, 
as was clearly evidenced at its second Triennial held in Cleve- 
land in 1900. Because of the illness and death of my son, 
Herbert, the convention which would normally have been 
held in 1899, was postponed until the following year. 

Many changes in which we were deeply concerned were 
then taking place. The Jewish population had increased, 
greatly, through the arrival of refugees from Russia. In the 
larger cities a number of philanthropies had assumed civic 
importance, and the sections of the Council, themselves, had 
created some of the most outstanding. The Columbian Settle- 
ment, with free bath house facilities had been established, in 
Pittsburgh, later becoming the Irene Kaufmann Settlement, 
a model institution. The New York Section had opened a fine 


Our Three Children, Helen, Herbert and Frank 

recreation room for girls in the crowded Jewish district; 
Cleveland carried on a splendid piece of work in a Council 
building, for the benefit of immigrants, and other sections 
were engaged in similar activities on a smaller scale. In 
Chicago, the Seventh Ward Bureau of Personal Service had 
been started with money contributed by us. The Denver 
section had requested that the Council undertake the man- 
agement of the National Jewish Hospital for Consumptives, 
and though we did not adopt this as a national enterprise, the 
fact that it was suggested is worthy of note. Permission was 
given to the Denver section, however, to circularize our entire 
membership for funds toward the hospital's maintenance. 

Certain significant affairs of the day are mirrored in my 
report at our Cleveland Triennial: "As your representative, 
I signed a petition to the President of the United States in 
the interest of peace, but that failing and war being declared 
with Spain, we devoted our energies to do our share toward 
the alleviation of suffering". Also: "Several letters regarding 
our position on the Dreyfus matter were received, but none 
were answered until after the trial had ended, as we felt 
satisfied that we could not assist, but might greatly harm 
the cause. After the trial had ended we sent a letter to Mrs. 
Dreyfus in the name of the Council." This, of course, refers 
to the celebrated Dreyfus case in France, and I find that in 
my address, as President, to the third Triennial, in 1902, 
I said, "We remember gratefully Emile Zola, a departed 
hero and champion, who conquered by force of the honest 
word, the just demand. Nor, for the Jew alone, did Zola 
bring deliverance. He wrought far more for France in dis- 
pelling the gloom, in bringing to her the opportunity of 
blotting from her pages the record of a great crime." 

It was Dr. Emil G. Hirsch, great and learned rabbi of 


Sinai Temple, who accorded me a signal honor when, in 
1897, he invited me to address his congregation. It was the 
first time a Jewish woman had ever been accorded the privi- 
lege of occupying a Jewish pulpit, though Jane Addams had 
spoken there, previously. But Dr. Hirsch's example was soon 
followed in this, as in other important innovations, by many 
congregations throughout the country. A clipping from one 
of the Chicago newspapers records that, "Mrs. Hannah G. 
Solomon, the first woman in the history of Judaism to act 
as rabbi, filled the pulpit of Sinai Temple yesterday morning. 
It could have happened in no Jewish Temple but Dr. Hirsch's, 
and the congregation predicts that the incident will put it 
farther from orthodoxy than any other innovation which it 
has been its pride to make. It makes Sinai and its leader 
the talk of the Hebrew world. . . . There was not a vacant seat 
in the gallery, or elsewhere. There did not seem to be a voice 
from the congregation save one of praise for the woman." 

The fact that this approbation was entirely too fulsome 
in no way minimized the delight with which it was received 
in our home. 

As each year passed the Council influence grew more 
marked. And now it was 1899, and the organization was 
beginning to think in international terms ! Since I was unable 
to go to England when the International Council of Women 
met in London, our corresponding secretary, Sadie American 
went as our representative. 

A highlight of the conference was an evening meeting at 
the home of Mrs. Leopold De Rothschild where a group of 
English Jewesses assembled to hear of the plans and attain- 
ments of the National Council of Jewish Women. When Miss 
American presented the chairman of the evening with a gavel 
made at the Jewish Training School, in Chicago, she learned 


to her surprise that "a gavel was an instrument unknown in 

Mrs. Frederick Nathan and Julia Richman of New York 
were also in attendance. Miss American told of the origin 
and purpose of the Council; Miss Richman discussed religious 
schools; Mrs. Nathan told of work in the field of philanthropy 
and the Reverend Maurice Harris, of New York, described 
"Circle Study". Mrs. Hermann Adler, wife of England's 
chief rabbi, responded in behalf of the English women. Claude 
Montefiore, one of the great liberal Jews of our day, said, 
in closing the meeting, "In many senses, this is an epoch- 
making meeting!" 

At the time of our Cleveland Triennial, Mrs. Nathaniel 
Cohen, who had presided at the London gathering in the 
Baroness De Rothschild's home, sent this message: "The pos- 
sibiHties of self-improvement and helpful educational and 
philanthropic work opened out by the American Council of 
Jewish Women and brought to the notice of English Jewish 
women by your kind and able efforts last summer, have made 
a deep impression on many members of our community here. 
A definite effort has resulted, to try and found a society on 
kindred lines in this country and there are great hopes that 
it will shortly be definitely started." The society founded 
was the Jewish Study Society, out of which developed the 
Union of Jewish Women of England. This, then, marked the 
beginning of our attempt to suggest organization to Jewish 
women abroad. 

Meantime, here at home, the Council was growing year 
by year. At the second triennial, ninety-three sections and 
a membership of five thousand had been reported. At the 
third convention, held in Baltimore in 1902, the recorded 
membership was seven thousand! There had been, also, a 


steady growth in the scope of our endeavors. Among the 
projects reported in Baltimore were eighty-two study groups, 
a number of lecture courses, new Sabbath schools, new settle- 
ments with clubs and classes, kindergartens, personal service 
groups, work in juvenile courts and many other splendid 
activities. Two new committees had been created: one, on 
Peace; another on Juniors. It was at the Cleveland Con- 
vention that a Junior Auxiliary had been ordered and there, 
too, it had been decided that an executive conference of the 
Council's board should be held annually, the first taking 
place in 1901, at New Orleans. Here, we adopted a provi- 
sional constitution for the Junior Auxiliary, and by the third 
triennial Junior sections were already flourishing. 

One of the most memorable features of our Baltimore 
triennial was the presence, there, of Chicago's own Jane 
Addams, who presented an inspired address on "The New 
Social Spirit" ... a spirit which she, in truth, best exemplified ! 
It was in Baltimore, too, that a meeting at which Henrietta 
Szold spoke was held, most appropriately, in the Temple 
whose pulpit had been occupied for forty-three years by her 
distinguished father. In recognition of this, as she stepped 
upon the platform, I placed a bouquet of roses upon the 
chair that once had been his. 

Miss Szold's address was most thoughtful, and rich in the 
best at her command. She had not yet assumed the position 
she now holds in Palestine, nor given her strength to further- 
ing its splendid achievement, but for Henrietta Szold I held 
always the most profund admiration; her figure is outstanding 
in modern Jewish history. 

Throughout these years of organization work, there were 
many individuals upon whose interest and help I counted. 
In addition to those whom I could approach, personally, in 


Chicago, I conferred through correspondence with three 
eminent Jewish men: Cyrus Adler and Louis Marshall, who 
gave most generously of their valuable time and sound advice, 
and Max Kohler, whom I considered one of the ablest men 
I knew, and to whom I wrote, especially, on the subject of 
Zionism. I found that he, too, shared my misgivings over 
the Balfour Declaration. My highest esteem and admiration 
goes to Chaim Weizmann who wished no personal reward 
in the first World War for his great service to England when 
he, a chemist, developed an explosive of inestimable value 
to the war effort. He asked, rather, for what he considered 
a gift to his people, the Jews . . . the gift of the Balfour Dec- 
laration. This unselfish act constitutes a glorious page in 
the annals of Jewry. I have always feared, however, that the 
sentimental hope of a return to the beloved land, born imme- 
diately after the destruction of Jerusalem, could not result 
in a reality that would be practical in the modern day world. 
Should Palestine become a Jewish State in a world already 
overburdened with national boundaries? It is my hope that 
it may be a refuge for the oppressed now, and for years to 
come, and that the remarkable regeneration brought about 
by the Zionists may never be destroyed. I must confess, how- 
ever, that — for me — Zionism has never seemed more than 
the despairing cry of a forlorn hope and I still believe that 
Palestine is destined to be a buffer state in which nothing 
can, or will, count to other nations but its usefulness to them. 
Nevertheless, I consider the achievement of the Zionists the 
greatest of all accomplishments during the peace years after 
World War I. Those Jews who have continued, by their 
efforts or their assistance, in turning a wasteland into one 
of indescribable beauty and promise, a haven of refuge for 
thousands, have earned universal gratitude and praise. 




(Psalms cvii:23) 

ON May fourteenth, 1904, Henry and I celebrated the 
completion of twenty-five years of perfect companion- 
ship and harmony with a dinner in our home which was 
attended by one hundred guests. All silver wedding anni- 
versaries are notable, of course, but as we reviewed our years 
together and counted our blessings, one by one, we were 
both humbly conscious of the most profound gratitude for 
the richness and beauty with which our marriage had been 
crowned. A devoted family, loyal friends, firm faith and the 
opportunity to serve . . . what more could we ask, or need? 
The sorrows that had come to us with the death of loved 
ones were in direct proportion to the joy each, in life, had 
brought, and so — deep as was our sense of loss — even there 
we felt we had been rarely blest, 

"Girls," I said to my sisters and sisters-in-law, after the 
other anniversary dinner guests had departed, "some of you 
will simply have to come back here for lunch tomorrow and 
help eat up the mountains of sandwiches and salads left from 
the party! Honestly, there's enough food for another re- 

And with that innocent invitation, I set the stage for an 
incident we remember with amusement to this day. One 
by one, each refused, regretfully, because of some previous 


commitment: one had to read a paper at a meeting; a second 
must take the children to the dentist, and so on down the 

Next morning, my cook asked, in perplexity, as she viewed 
the bursting larder, "What'll we do, Mrs. Solomon? Who'll 
eat all this stuff?" 

"My sisters and sisters-in-law," I replied promptly. 

"But they said they can't come," she objected. 

"We'll just set their places at the table," I told her, con- 
fidently. "You'll see, they'll be here, every last one of them !" 

And sure enough, they were! One by one they straggled 
in, sheepish and giggling, until every place at the table was 
occupied. From that day, my cook eyed me a little tentatively, 
convinced that I was possessed of occult powers. She never 
quite believed it was purely a matter of my knowing so well 
the Greenebaum inability to pass up a spontaneous get- 
together and so golden an opportunity to "talk things over!" 

One day, shortly thereafter, my husband gave voice to one 
of his frequent and generous suggestions which was, in effect, 
rather like a luscious topping to a particularly delectable 
cake ! I was scheduled to leave shortly to attend a convention 
of the International Council of Women, in Berlin, Germany. 
Susan B. Anthony had been elected first delegate at an ex- 
ecutive meeting in Indianapolis, and Mrs. Kate Waller Bar- 
rett, National Secretary, was second delegate. Since, at the 
same meeting, I had been made an alternate, I was asked to 
take Mrs. Barrett's place when she found herself unable to 
attend. Henry's idea, which was greeted with unanimous 
acclaim by our family, was that my journey be turned into 
a sort of glorified silver anniversary celebration, with the 
entire household sharing in the trip abroad! That he met 
with no refusal is surely not surprising! And so, instead of 


my bidding adieu to the family at the pier, we all sailed off 
together; my brother-in-law, my sister-in-law, Helen, Frank, 
Henry and I. It proved to be a magnificent adventure of 
three-fold significance since, added to its delightful and purely 
personal aspect were implications of civic and religious im- 
portance, as well. 

Oh, the joy of that first ocean voyage on the Kaiser Wil- 
helm der Grosse! And how amazed we were at the smooth 
sailing we enjoyed nearly all the way ! Our staterooms were 
festive with flowers, candy, books and packages of all kinds 
and sizes, and each day held a specially breathless moment 
for us when an additional packet of letters and messages, 
thoughtfully planned for us by friends and relatives, was 

No travel excitement has ever surpassed the enthusiasm 
we experienced when we entered London! We greeted the 
River Thames as an old friend, and were sure each bridge 
we passed must be the famous Blackfriars. How amused we 
were, after passing innumerable bridges, to find the one we 
wanted right in front of the De Kayser Hotel, at which we 

One of my most impressive pieces of luggage was a very 
fine leather satchel, a parting gift of the board of the Chicago 
section of the National Council of Jewish Women, presented 
at a lovely farewell luncheon. Since I planned to devote part 
of my time in Europe to efforts on behalf of this organization, 
their gift was appropriately stuffed, almost to bursting, with 
copies of the Council's constitution translated into French 
and German by Mrs. Ignace Reis, of Chicago. These I ex- 
pected to distribute to representative women in communities 
I hoped to visit. 

In London, I was honored by a visit from Alice Hen- 


Europe looked wonderful to the Solomons, in 1904 
and this is the way we looked to Europe. 

riques who, much to my surprise, brought with her a card 
on which was printed, "The Jewish Study Society ... A 
general Meeting of the members will be held at 46, Gloucester 
Square, Hyde Park (by kind permission of Mr. and Mrs. 
Henry Lucas). Thursday, second June, at 8:30 P.M., pre- 
cisely. Mrs. Henry Solomon, President of the American Coun- 
cil of Jewish Women, will deliver an address." Mrs. Lucas, 
a sister of Claude Montefiore, was deeply engrossed in Jewish 
affairs, and was president, at the time, of the English Study 
Society, of which Miss Henriques was secretary. 

On the evening appointed, about two hundred representa- 
tive Jewish men and women assembled at the Lucas home 
to meet us. I told of the work of the National Council of 
Jewish Women, and Sadie American, who was also in London, 
made an additional statement. Miss Henriques reported for 
the English Study Society which owed its inspiration to our 
Council, as did the Union of Jewish Women, established as 
an English equivalent of our National. 

Following our addresses, Dr. Hermann Adler, chief rabbi 
of England, and Claude Montefiore spoke. Mr. Montefiore 
was a nephew of Sir Moses Montefiore who was, I believe, 
the most celebrated English Jew of the preceding generation, 
and Claude Montefiore was, himself, one of the especially 
distinguished men of our dav. I had the opportunity of be- 
coming better acquainted with him when he came to America, 
some years later, and we felt privileged to hold a reception in 
his honor at our home. 

Such fine women were present at the London gathering! 
Foremost among them were the Honorable Mrs. Ernest 
Franklin, a sister of Sir Herbert Samuel, later a Governor 
of Palestine, and Nettie Adler, with whom I had corre- 
sponded during the organization of the Jewish Women's 


Congress of 1893. My whole trip was destined to become 
resplendent through unexpected but thrilling contact with 
world-renowned pioneers in the emancipation of women. 

On our way to Berlin, we stopped at Amsterdam, where I 
dined with Dr. Aletta Jacobs, one of the outstanding women 
of Holland; a suffragist, well-known beyond the borders of 
her own country. I spent one evening in Amsterdam dis- 
cussing the activities in which Jewish women participated, 
and found that in Holland many were engaged in non-sec- 
tarian enterprises, but few were interested in Jewish religious 
efforts, as such. 

The convention of the International Council of Women 
opened early in June, in Berlin. The delegate body was 
composed of the officers and representatives from the National 
Councils of the various affiliated countries. Each day we 
were called to order at ten in the morning, adjourning at 
one. Luncheon followed; usually a function of no mean pro- 
portions, arranged by the Berlin women. We re-convened at 
three each afternoon, and the evenings were devoted to public 
meetings or receptions. It was inspiring to deliberate with 
women of many countries, consecrated to efforts for improving 
social conditions. But, alas ! It was a man's world in which 
litde could be accomplished as long as the lust for power 
remained an unchecked human passion! Would woman's 
suffrage act as a check? We worked — we hoped ! 

The meetings of the convention were conducted in three 
languages, German, French and English. Representing the 
United States, I was placed on the nominating committee 
because no other person in our group understood both French 
and German, and I was later elected chairman. 

The Council sessions were most illuminating as problems 
of world-wide interest were discussed. The chairman of the 



o o 

1 1 

.o P 

^ ^ 

Jr: £ 

— ~ -^ < 

various committees were heard in questions of great moment, 
including white slave traffic, political equality for women and 
the rights of racial groups. Reports were given by the dele- 
gates from the United States, Canada, Germany, Sweden, 
Great Britain, Ireland, Denmark, New South Wales, Holland, 
New Zealand, Tasmania, Switzerland, Italy, France, Argen- 
tine, Victoria, Austria and Norway. A world gathering, in 
truth ! 

At the first public meeting, Mrs. May Wright Sewell, of 
America, the international president, delivered her message 
in faultless German. It was most inspiring to see the audience 
assembled at the Philharmonic Hall, all the seats filled with 
interested and enthusiastic listeners as aims and accomplish- 
ments were summarized. At all open sessions, the men were 
well represented, many giving flattering acclaim to the attain- 
ments of women. A great public meeting was held on one 
of the evenings, at which the beautiful Baroness von Suttner, 
of Austria, author of "Ground Arms", gave the main speech. 
The Baroness, a most convincing speaker, was one of the first 
to advocate the substitution of arbitration for war, and she 
was the champion, in Austria, of the rights of Jews. Madame 
Bogolet, of France, and the Scotch Countess of Aberdeen, 
who became the next president of the Council, also spoke on 
the Peace and Arbitration program. 

At the close of the Council convention, the Congress of 
Women — an unofficial gathering of women from all over 
the world — convened. There were no appointed delegates 
to the Congress, and speeches, discussions and entertainment 
were each day's meed. 

The social functions for both Council convention and the 
Congress were numerous and were elaborate beyond words! 
Our Temperance women were greatly distressed when wine 


was served at a lovely breakfast given by Mrs. Sewell! They 
were horrified when decanters of champagne appeared at 
still another breakfast, but they were duly impressed, as were 
we all, when bon bons were brought in, each wrapped in a 
paper covering which bore the portrait of Miss Anthony! 
Susan B. Anthony took Berlin by storm ! The most admired 
of all representatives, she was by far the sprightliest among 
us; always the center of attraction, she was greeted with en- 
thusiasm and affection wherever she appeared. At the con- 
vention, the American delegates always sat together, and 
mine was the rare privilege of being next to Miss Anthony 
and acting as her interpreter. 

The American Embassy in Berlin gave a beautiful reception 
for the visiting Americans, one afternoon, and on another 
occasion we were taken to Miss Willard's School for American 
Girls. The English women were invited to go there with us, 
to meet representatives of both of our embassies and many 
professional persons, including American and English artists. 
Another day we attended a lovely concert at the home of 
Frau and Herr Goldbcrger. The Kaiser had at one time 
commissioned Herr Goldberger, one of his Jewish friends, 
to visit the United States in order to gather material for a 
book. "The Land of Unbounded Opportunities" was the 
result. I did not read it; perhaps the Kaiser didn't either, 
for certainly he did not learn that unbounded opportunities 
would build Americans into an invincible foe. 

The Goldberger home was a palace of regal proportions, 
containing many objects of rare beauty. We wandered into 
the garden where I visited with Lady Battersea and Mrs. 
Frederick Nathan of New York. Lady Battersea and Mrs. 
Ernest Franklin were among the influential Jewesses of Lon- 
don who were in Berlin at the time. Lady Battersea's interests 


lay in many fields, with special emphasis, however, on prison 
work for women. Mrs. Ernest Franklin was a leader in Eng- 
land's social and religious movements. 

A magnificent reception was held on Wilhelm Strasse, in 
the adjoining gardens of Grafin von Biilow and Grafin von 
Pasadousky, wives of Ministers of the Kaiser. The houses 
were built almost to the sidewalk, with only a small grass 
plot in front. Beyond a courtyard, one entered a gorgeous 
park of majestic extent with acres of trees and flowers. Thou- 
sands of roses were in full bloom when we were there. One 
of the palaces had been the residence of Bismarck, and al- 
though its halls held priceless furniture, gorgeous chandeliers 
and unique ornaments, as far as I was concerned, an impres- 
sive portrait of Bismarck, by Lenbach, outshone them all. 
The gentlemen of the households acted as hosts, for at every 
social function we attended they assisted, gallantly, in receiv- 
ing in their homes. 

These were the impressions I recorded for my report on 
my return: "The question most interesting to foreign women 
is political rights. The reason for this is that women consti- 
tute an enormous percent of the working population, as the 
armies take the men, and so they feel that greater political 
privileges will aid them in securing recognition in more fields 
of labor. The German women, who are supposed to live for 
"Kuche, Kleider und Kinder" (kitchen, clothes and children), 
do nothing of the sort! The rich leisure class does none of 
them. They live like women of all lands, diversified accord- 
ing to station, and the attitude of the men is by no means 
hostile. At every meeting, men attended; the official Germany 
was represented time and again, on one delightful occasion 
by Professor Miinsterberg who, like his brother at Harvard, 
is a great advocate and admirer of woman's work; and the 


men had no hesitancy in approving all the women were 

Prominent among the women at the Congress was Mary 
Church Terrell who headed the National Federation of Col- 
ored Women of America. A college graduate, she spoke ex- 
cellent German, and I had become well acquainted with her 
when I was treasurer of the National Council of Women of 
the United States. I admired her accomplishments and valued 
her friendship. Mrs. Terrell was a guest in a German home 
while the convention was in progress. There was little dis- 
crimination against races of other color on the continent at 
the time. I was con"^cious, however, of prejudice against the 
Jews, in spite of the many who had risen to prominence in 
business and in the professions, and of those with whom the 
foremost leaders claimed friendship. 

The Jewesses of Germany interested me greatly ! A large 
number attended the Couiici) convention and the Congress, 
for out of the one hundred and seventy-nine organizations in 
the National Council of Germany, five were Jewish. Many 
of them had chosen to be baptized as a matter of convenience, 
but a prominent Jew told me that baptism would cease alto- 
gether in a few years, and that those who had, shall we say, 
submitted to it, would later regret it. (How woeful a prophecy 
. . . and how true !) 

I made a point of meeting as many Jewish women and 
men as possible, so that I might describe the work of the 
National Council of Jewish Women, and promote the idea 
of a similar endeavor over there. The first opportunity for a 
public hearing was before a committee of men of the German 
order of B'nai B'rith, a lodge to which most of the representa- 
tive Jewish men in Germany belonged. The general topic 
under consideration at this meeting happened to be "White 


Slave Traffic" and a report was given by a young woman 
who had been sent to investigate this evil in Galicia. It was 
a sad story that she told, and one all too familiar, because of 
my own committee work in the United States. 

One afternoon I attended a gathering of women who wished 
to organize a union of Jewish women's charities. There were 
about fifty present, and many different groups were repre- 
sented. It was here, for the first time, that I heard the sug- 
gestion that the only solution for the Jew was Palestine ! When 
I spoke, I urged that a study of Jewish history and literature 
be made a part of the program of their organization. This 
idea was something so new to them that they could not con- 
ceive of it, at first. In the end, however, the suggestion was 
adopted, and when I met one of the women, later in my 
travels, she told me that it had never before occured to her 
to read a Jewish work, but that during the summer, owing 
to our influence, she had studied Lazarus' Ethics, with deep 
interest. At a subsequent meeting of this group, I was de- 
lighted to be of service in helping organize and many women 
urged me to remain in Germany throughout October, to 
assist them in other communities. I was greatly tempted, but 
that was impossible. Nevertheless, I did distribute almost all 
of the entire first edition of the German translation of the 
Council's constitution I had brought from home, and many 
sections were organized later, as a result. 




(Psalms xvi:6) 

HOW WE Solomons revelled in that first wonderful Euro- 
pean journey ! And how I wish I need not pass over so 
quickly the story of our travels ! 

We had so much to see in London. At Westminster Abbey, 
with its fascinating chapels and marvelous statues and tombs 
of the good and the great (as well as of those who were only 
titled) my husband almost wept at the memorials to his old 
friends of literature. We were certain that nothing we were 
to see elsewhere could possibly equal this — our first visit to 
the Abbey! There, too, was the Tower of London with its 
pomp and crown jewels and golden articles of State, on the 
one hand, and — on the other — reminders of the tragic many 
who, either noble or ignoble, played their short parts in Eng- 
lish history, and met their doom. 

We were not privileged to view the Houses of "Lords" 
and "Commons", in action, though we found the Parliament 
buildings most imposing, but we did see the King ! One day, 
as we walked in St. James Park, opposite Buckingham Palace, 
King Edward drove up to the curb, and we had a fine oppor- 
tunity to see his kindly face. He was accompanied by an 
equerry, and they rode in an unassuming coupe, on the way 
to the Epsom Races. It was very pleasant to catch so informal 
a glimpse of the King of England ! 


Oh, the great art museums of London ! Of the National 
Gallery everyone has the impulse to write volumes and to 
express his intense delight as he experiences, for the first time, 
the sight of the originals of the works he knows so well through 
reproductions; paintings by Romney, Gainsborough, Reyn- 
olds, Lawrence and many other masters of schools both 
English and foreign. 

In the British museum we found the famous Rosetta Stone 
of basalt upon which the same inscription is written in Greek 
and in Egyptian hieroglyphics, providing the key through 
which Eg>^ptian writing was deciphered. The manuscript sec- 
tion and the printing room provided our first glimpse of those 
illuminated pages that tell of the time and patience necessary 
to create an art that will continue to live and to give joy to 
multitudes yet unborn. We were lost to the present, and 
antiquity became the living era. The Golden Age and the 
inheritance of Beauty which Greece gave to the world, then 
lived for us ! We found, too, the famous marble figures brought 
to England from Athens by Lord Elgin. Unfortunately, the 
Turks had used the Parthenon on the Acropolis for a powder 
magazine, when they were masters of Greece, and a tragic 
explosion occured. But we annexed the picture of those broken 
pediment figures, bought by Lord Elgin, to our store of pre- 
cious memories. 

One day in London, I visited Toynbee Hall, where Jane 
Addams received her inspiration for Chicago's Hull House. 
Entering through a gate, one came into a narrow court around 
which the ivy-walled buildings stand. There I spent almost 
half a day. One of the head residents showed me through 
Toynbee Hall and I found the work both interesting and 
significant. There, too, I saw the same types of people I knew 
so well at home, and one person addressed me in Yiddish. 


My next stop was at the Jewish Guardian's Society, which 
corresponded to our Jewish Charities. I asked innumerable 
questions, especially about the work-rooms for girls, where 
instructions were given and money paid for the articles pro- 
duced. I also visited the Hebrew Free Schools where a Mr. 
Abrahams had been Headmaster for many years. As we en- 
tered a classroom Mr. Abrahams said, "Good morning, boys." 
The boys rose and said, together, "Good morning, Mr. Abra- 
hams." It was all very formal and mannerly. In one room 
a rather young lad — a pupil instructor, studying to become 
a teacher — was conducting the lesson. Classes for girls were 
also in progress, with manual training and domestic science 
forming part of the curriculum. There were three thousand 
children in attendance at the time I visited the schools. The 
task of supervision had been taken over by the city and some 
changes from the traditional type of Hebrew Free School in- 
struction had been introduced. 

Toward the end of the afternoon, I found the old Syna- 
gogue, situated on a narrow street in the most ancient part 
of London. It looked just like a dwelling, with windows of 
ordinary transparent white glass. Such interior decorations 
as there were — chiefly candlesticks and a railing around the 
ladies' gallery — were of brass. Nearby was the great Syna- 
gogue into which I went. Here was a large hall in the center 
of which was a raised platform for the president who was, at 
that time. Lord Rothschild. The small carved wooden stand 
for the reader was approached by a circular stairway. A 
wedding was about to take place, and the Chuppah (the wed- 
ding canopy) was already in place. Obviously, traditional 
customs were followed, here. 

Twice, in London, we witnessed imposing dinners from the 
balcony of the elegant banquet hall of our hotel. At one, 


for the Corporation of the city of London, we were provided 
with printed diagrams so that we might locate, with ease, 
the important dignitaries as they sat at their appointed places. 
Even democratic Americans seem to be impressed at contact 
with nobiUty and royalty, and Helen and Frank were agog 
as they watched the Lord Mayor and other high officials at 
the second dinner. Breathlessly, they pointed out a man in 
gorgeous regalia whom, they were certain, must be "at least 
a Duke!" Imagine their chagrin when, as they viewed the 
banquet, they spotted him stationed behind one of the chairs ! 
Yes, we were dazzled even by the costumes of the butlers as 
they stood back of their masters, and served them ! 

Mrs. Nathaniel Cohen, upon the occasion of the debut of 
her daughter, gave a dance at the Botanical Garden, to which 
we were invited, and where we were greatly intrigued by the 
long buffet tables, laden with quantities of delectable food. 
It was a style of serving to which, in Chicago, we were not 
yet accustomed. Fashions in clothes, too, seemed different — 
and more simple. The smartly garbed women we admired 
on the streets wore hats, coats and dresses of one color. When 
they went driving, in 1904, they added a feather boa — the 
approved "accent" of the hour. 

Vivid memories of each delightful place we visited during 
that first London trip remain ! The Inner Temple with its 
Crusader's Church, the Cheshire Cheese Inn, the Old Curi- 
osity Shop of Dickens' fame; great edifices like St. Paul's 
Church; names like Fleet Street and Piccadilly Circus now, 
for the first time, came to life for us! Never before had I 
visited a city with an Old World flavor ... it made Chicago 
seem very new and very young. 

Holland we found delightful, with its fields of tulips, hya- 
cinths and narcissus, and the river barges loaded with blooms 


turned the canal into a floating garden! At the roadsides, 
too, swayed red poppies, blue corn flowers and big white 
daisies. Of the Hague I mention only two highspots: our 
visit to Queen Wilhelmina's "House in the Woods" in which 
the first World Peace Conference met, and the famous picture 
gallery where we met, face to face, noteworthy masterpieces 
of Rembrandt and Rubens. 

Though we had seen King Edward but once, in England, 
from the Westminster Hotel, in Berlin, where we stopped, we 
watched the Kaiser drive down Unter Den Linden almost 
every day. Two fine horses harnessed to his open Victoria 
sped by at a furious pace. He passed in a hurry — yes, merci- 
fully, he did, indeed ! 

We became acquainted with taximeters, for the first time, 
in Berlin, for they were part of the equipment of the horse- 
drawn fiacres in which we rode through the Tiergarten and 
to the suburbs and the gardens where there was always music 
and where thousands came to dine of an evening. We visited 
the Reichstag and many other massive buildings and were 
specially impressed by the huge Pergamon excavations from 
Asia Minor. Beyond the famed Brandenburg Gate, the trees 
of Unter den Linden seemed so puny that one wondered 
whether, perhaps, they were not just a second generation of 
something that had once been mighty. 

Two cousins of my husband lived in Berlin, and at the 
home of one of them, one evening, was served the most elabo- 
rate dessert imaginable ! It was an imposing ice cream, called 
"Gefrorenes", and was brought in on a huge platter on which 
an electrically lighted boat blazed out the name, "Kaiser 
Wilhelm der Grosse", in honor of the ship on which we had 
sailed from America. After dinner another innovation awaited 
us ! It was an evening of delightful surprises ! We all made 


a joint phonograph record. Joe, my brother-in-law, was the 
first to orate, and he proceeded to tell of his happiness and 
joy in being in his childhood home, with his relatives, again. 
Henry followed, and in turn we came after, all playing vari- 
ations of the same theme, as did our German relatives. It 
was a sweet and thoughtful plan of theirs, to make this record. 
Only, unfortunately, though we carted those records all over 
Europe, swathing them carefully lest they break, we never 
were able to find a phonograph in America into which they 
would fit ! Truly, it was a "song without words" — in reverse ! 

The wife of this German household came of a long-lived 
family, with a father of seventy-five, an eighty-four year old 
uncle, and an aunt who boasted ninety-two years. All were 
interested in my mission as a delegate to the International 
Council, and — as did many others in Berlin — clamored to 
know all about Susan B. Anthony. The youngest brother 
questioned me about her age, and I told him she was eighty- 
four. "Oh!", said he, "That is quite old, isn't it?" The uncle 
queried, "What did you say her age was?" "Eighty-four", I 
replied. "Oh", he remarked, "That's not very old, is it?" 
Later, the ninety-two-year-old aunt put the same question to 
me, and again I gave her the answer. "Hm-m-m," she re- 
torted, "That is not old at all!" They were all most eager to 
understand just what Miss Anthony was demanding. When 
I explained that she wanted the right to vote, one of them 
asked, "And why do they not allow her to do so? She seems 
such a fine old lady!" 

While I was at the convention, in Berlin, my husband, his 
brother and sister paid a visit to their birthplace, a small 
village not far from Colmar. They were thrilled with their 
experience, and Frank, who accompanied them, said he would 
not have exchanged it for any other of the whole European 


trip. In a short account of it, Henry wrote, "... what quick- 
ening heartbeats when we beheld this old spot of a half- 
century ago where we lived and hoped, where our parents 
struggled and toiled. God, I feel, must have had his guiding 
hand specially over us in bringing us to our new home in the 
land of freedom and liberty. Naturally, the thoughts upper- 
most in our minds were of our dear parents and of their lives 
of labor and sacrifice for their children . . . their aim was to 
educate us for lives of industry and integrity. The highest 
tribute children can bestow is to live in the memory of their 
parents and to emulate their example . . . for the first time 
since 1856, we slept in our native town . . ." 

Henry further describes the newer "more imposing build- 
ings" and "modern architecture" (of 1889!). He told, too, 
of old friends of their parents still living, and many relatives 
of persons who were in America, and whom he promised to 
seek out. His story ended with the words, "Frank was deeply 
impressed." How much it meant to Henry to revisit, with 
his son, the scenes of his childhood ! 

It was a beaten path we took on our tour of the Continent, 
and one so well-known to European travelers that I shall tell 
of it in a tempo too swift to permit mention of many rare 
and cherished experiences. 

From Berlin we travelled to Dresden, stopping at the 
Bellevue, a pleasant little hotel delightfully situated beside 
the river Elbe. We revelled in the great art museum where 
hung Dresden's most treasured possession — Raphael's Sistine 
Madonna, considered at that time the most famous picture in 
the world. There, too, we went to opera, to hear Mozart's 
Magic Flute, so rarely presented. 

Seeming almost to belong to a fairy-tale era was Nuremberg 
with its delicious long-ago atmosphere and the old city walls 


still surrounding it. The houses, too, were very old as were 
the churches with exquisite stained glass windows and the 
quaint streets in one of which was located the Synagogue. 

We purchased ivories in Nuremberg, as well as many of 
the toys for which that city was famous. We shuddered at 
the medieval instruments of torture and the ancient weapons 
of war which recalled the days when a land was held only 
as long as it could withstand the onslaught of enemies. Nurem- 
berg was so charming, so peaceful, so serene, we were bound 
to feel that civilization had really moved ahead, and that 
other weapons of war would, in a none-too-distant future, all 
be relegated to museums. 

Munich, with its handsome buildings, seemed, in contrast 
with Nuremberg, a city built for kings! It, too, had great 
museums and many works of genius. One evening we spent 
at the opera, and heard "Joseph in Egypt" which I especially 
enjoyed because in it was an aria I used to hear my mother 
sing, in her rich beautiful voice. The opera house was jammed 
and attention was concentrated entirely upon the music and 
the stage, and not at all on the "diamond horseshoe" or an 
exquisitely gowned audience, for there was neither ! Standing 
room, at thirty-five cents per person, was completely filled, 
and between the acts many of the patrons went out into the 
foyer to walk about or enjoy a drink and a sandwich, in the 
most informal manner. 

At the conclusion of the performance, we went to the 
famous Hofbrau Haus, the huge beer tavern whose floors 
were always crowded with beer-drinking men. In my diary, 
I wrote, "If there was ever an argument for temperance, the 
Hofbrau is that argument." That was in 1904. How diff'erent 
the brand of desired temperance, now, as we recall Hitler's 
Hofbrau Haus putsch in the nineteen-twenties ! 


Leaving Munich, we rode through the Tyrol, toward Italy. 
The River Inn was surrounded by pine-covered mountains 
and back of these rise higher peaks; some rising above the 
line of verdure and breaking into the clouds; others with 
snow-capped summits. The hills were studded with villas and 
many convents were discernible. How lovely, the blended 
colors of woods and flowers, vine-clad mountains and rows 
of wheat ! How peaceful the flocks of shepherded goats ! 

The Tyrolean costume was much in evidence, especially 
among the men. Along the road we were amazed to find 
women in charge of railroad stations ! Their uniforms con- 
sisted of a man's hat, a blouse with or without a vest and a 
faded skirt of some washable fabric that seemed to be hung 
over a hoopskirt. As we passed, they presented arms — usually 
a club. Truly, a diff'erent breed of club-woman ! 

And now, Italy, the dream, became a reality! Verona, 
Venice, Florence 

Beside the "swiftly flowing Adige", Verona ! We walked, in 
the early morning, to the old market place, once an old 
Roman forum, where antiquities abounded; we saw the aged 
amphitheater built by Emperor Diocletian, some twelve-hun- 
dred years before, and the tombs of the famous Roman family 
of Scaliger, as well as that of Romeo's Juliet. In the gardens 
of the old Francescan monastery was the rude sarcophagus as 
was, too, a marble tablet marking the spot where Juliet, of 
the house of Capulet, was said to have lived. 

Then on to Venice, where we stopped at the Royal Danielli 
which had once been a palace. It still bore traces of its 
ancient splendor in its crystal chandeliers, regal staircases and 
rich frescoes. Much as there was to see, in Venice, I'm sure 
we didn't miss a single "sight", and our days there ended 
serenely, if conventionally, with lovely rides on the Grand 


Canal. It was in Venice that we met a dashing Colonel whom 
all the soldiers saluted mostsnappily. I hoped that he might be 
merely a guardian of the peace, all his life ! In the course of our 
conversation about the Church of San Marco, he inquired 
if we were Catholic. "No," I replied, "We are Jews." "It's 
all the same, here," he replied. "In Italy everyone is alike!" 

Recalling his words, now, I bethink me of Luigi Luzzais, 
a remarkable man, and a Jew, who became a Roman Senator 
in 1920. He had occupied high places in public service for 
many years, and when he died, in 1929, Benito Mussolini 
extolled him "for his disinterested zeal and devotion, as well 
as for his profound knowledge." He had served as Minister 
of the Treasury, Minister of Agriculture, Industry and Com- 
merce, Premier and Home Secretary, and was known as the 
"Grand Old Man of Italy". To what extent, one wonders, 
is everyone "alike" today, in Italy? 

To Florence, our next port of call, I felt I must surely re- 
turn some day ! Florence — one of the world's greatest treas- 
ure troves ! Can one still see the wonders there, today? The 
beautiful Cathedral Square with the church dome by Brunel- 
leschi from which the great Michelangelo is said to have re- 
ceived his inspiration for the dome of St. Peter's, in Rome! 
The multi-colored marble Campanile, so skillfully planned 
by Giotto; the magnificent eight-sided Baptistry with its two 
great doors of bronze, wrought by Ghiberti, of which Michel- 
angelo said, "They are fit to be the doors of Heaven!" And 
its two other doors of which Pisano was the brilliant crafts- 
man! Memories of "old Firenze" fill one with nostalgia! 
Florence, where men of genius were protected and encour- 
aged by the lords and ladies of wealth, by the Medicis and 
especially by Lorenzo, the Magnificent! I was particularly 
touched when we visited the old San Marco monastery with 


its exquisite wall decorations by Fra Angelico and Fra Bar- 
tolomeo, for here lived Savonarola ! Here one viewed the great 
square where he was burned because he belonged to perhaps 
the greatest of all brotherhoods; that brotherhood of men 
who, in all ages, have tried to effect reforms, in a day when 
ignorance, stupidity and evil stalk through — and master? — 
the land ! Would that the beauty and serenity of the Florence 
of 1904 might be preserved, as we saw it, for all future 
generations ! 

Rome! Even in 1904 the thought of the possibility of war 
made me shudder ! How I hoped Italy would be made neu- 
tral ground forever, for the sake of art and history. 

We spent hours on the ancient Forum which had a special 
fascination for my husband, for here the ghosts of the Rome 
of hundreds of years past still seemed to gaze upon the old 
haunts whence the Caesars ruled the known world. 

Temples and arches, too, make ancient history thrillingly 
alive! How grateful we should be to the Popes who sur- 
mounted the Columns of the old Roman Empire with saints 
or crosses, thus saving them from demolition! Yet far more 
significant, to us, was the Arch of Titus with its seven-branched 
candlestick frieze, commemorating the taking of Jerusalem 
by the Romans in 70 A.D., and the return, to Rome, by the 
conquerors with their loot. We drove on the old Appian Way 
passing the little church of "Quo Vadis" fame, erected on a 
spot where Jesus is said to have appeared after his death, and 
on to the Catacombs — those fascinating underground bury- 
ing places; labyrinths which provided added interest because 
they served, too, as meeting places at a time when the Chris- 
tian was the persecuted faith, and his Diety challenged the 
gods of the country. 

But always, my interest in things Jewish took precedence 


over all others, and so we visited the Jewish Catacombs and 
the Jewish Ghetto, much of which had been torn down. The 
Ghetto in Rome was then an anomaly, certainly, so far as 
its house of worship was concerned. But just as birds with 
clipped wings cannot fly far from even an open cage, so, 
here, a beautiful new Synagogue was in the course of con- 
struction. The ancient Synagogue was an amazing building! 
Since Roman law ordered that only one Jewish Synagogue 
was permitted in Rome, five different congregations worship- 
ped in different rooms under the one roof. These included 
the Sephardic, Sicilian, Italian and one or two other groups. 
The new Synagogue was to replace several of the old ones 
which had, meantime, amalgamated. The Reverend Professor 
Vittorio Castiglione was, at that time, chief rabbi of Italy, 
and we much enjoyed a visit with him. True to my mission, 
I left with him French and German translations of the con- 
stitution of the National Council of Jewish Women, and urged 
him to try to organize the Jewish women of Italy for religious 
and philanthropic work. 

Great was our excitement when tickets to attend an audi- 
ence with Pope Pius the Tenth were delivered to us at our 
hotel! To comply with certain regulations, it was necessary 
for us to make some purchases for the eventful visit: black 
lace veils for the women and false white shirt-fronts for the 
men. We had not carried all our baggage into Italy, and so 
we were compelled to rent full dress suits for our men-folks, 
since they were obliged to present themselves in formal attire. 
This was the first "full dress" experience for Frank, who fairly 
strutted in his grandeur! 

We arrived at the Vatican at a quarter to five, to find the 
streets jammed with people, because it was the Feast of Saint 
Peter, one of Rome's greatest holidays. 


The marble staircase of the Vatican, up which we walked, 
was flanked by picturesquely garbed Swiss guards, so privi- 
leged because in the French Revolution Swiss soldiers shielded 
Marie Antoinette until the last man fell. At the head of the 
stairway we were met by men in crimson brocade livery and 
ushered into the magnificent rooms of state. Gorgeous tapes- 
tries covered the walls and the draperies of white silk were 
braided in crimson and gold. The floors were of beautiful 
colored marble and onyx, removed from old Roman build- 
ings; the ceilings rich with handsome frescoes. 

About thirty people were granted an "audience", many 
carrying rosaries and other articles to share in the papal 
blessing. Accompanied by one of his Bishops, His Holiness 
appeared. At a sign, all knelt, and as he passed, each one 
kissed his large emerald ring. For some, this was a religious 
rite; for others a mark of respect, or merely a prescribed 

Pope Pius the Tenth was a fine man, majestic in bearing, 
with benevolence and kindliness shining in his face. One 
could not but be impressed by his presence, for a profound 
faith, though it diff'ers basically from one's own, is inspira- 
tional to sincere adherents of any religion. 

Church bells were pealing as we drove up the Pincian hill 
to watch the sunset over classic Rome. There were "the hills 
of Rome" and "the pines of Rome" as well as "the fountains 
of Rome", with their clear spring waters running into basins 
dating from the time of Nero and Caracalla ! One must throw 
pennies into the Trevi Fountain, tradition has it, for then one 
will surely return to Rome. The pennies I tossed in were 
evidently possessed of the necessary magic, for I was privil- 
eged to return many times. 

Which is more thrilling? An unexpected revelation or a 


personal verifying of sights one has imagined, but never 

In Naples, I speak first of a glorious night ! Into our rooms 
facing the Bay, the stars shone brilliantly! The moon was 
full and, periodically, flames ending in wreathes of smoke, 
issued from Mount Vesuvius, exactly the way we had dreamed 

Naples and its Bay . . . the fishermen . . . the crowded streets 
. . . the cows being milked at the doors of the homes . . . the 
goats . . . the maccaroni hanging on the roofs to dry, like 
clothes upon a line — all these, so typical and so picturesque ! 

And then, Pompeii! It was difficult to feel alive and in 
the present, as we walked through the deserted streets of the 
ruins of a once beautiful city that tells, still, the story of an 
era of pomp and luxury. 

On the train to Milan, my brother-in-law asked, "Why 
are we going to Milan?" 

"To see the Cathedral", I replied. 

"When was it built?" he inquired. 

"Oh, about 1300 A.D.", was my answer. 

"Hannah!" he burst out indignantly. "Do you mean to 
tell me that we are actually stopping off to see a building 
as recently erected as six hundred years ago?" But before 
we left Milan, he conceded that we could not possibly have 
passed it by! The exterior, with its innumerable pinnacles 
and turrets, has so many rare points of interest and beauty 
that one might study it for years without exhausting the 
possibilities for new discoveries! Inside the church, one can 
scarcely bear to take one's eyes from the exquisite stained 
glass windows with the heavenly blues and glowing reds 
sparkling in the sunlight. 

Indescribable was the ride from Milan to Como, from 


Como to Menaggio! The glorious mountain peaks seemed 
to point to heaven as the only place where this paradise can 
be improved upon! The Italian sky, the unrivaled foliage, 
the perfect blending of sea, sky and land . . . once visioned 
and forever remembered! In the hotel at Menaggio, com- 
plete with porters and servants, galore, we were almost alone, 
for it was out of season. The grounds were abloom with 
hydrangeas and magnolias, and as we rested, in luxury, we 
watched the sun slip away behind the lovely hills dotted with 
impressive villas, church spires and bell towers. All my life 
I had yearned to row on Lake Como . . . and now I could ! 
And I did ! And I could hardly believe it ! 

Leaving Menaggio, we rode on Lake Lugano, another 
delightful body of water sunk in the Alps, with villages cud- 
dling at the base of the mountains, ending our journey, by 
rail, through the St. Gotthard Tunnel, into Switzerland. 

We arrived in Lucerne at the height of the season. In 
contrast to Italy, here tourists swarmed over the mountains 
and climbers armed with field glasses and Alpenstocks, ad- 
orned with Edelweiss and Alpine roses, clambered up and 
strolled down the mountains. 

We travelled to Interlaken, over the Brunig Pass, and there 
became acquainted with the Jungfrau as she rises between 
two other mountains, shining forth brilliantly in her snowy 
dress and donning, each evening, her rosy "Alpen glow". 

We chose to ride, rather than to climb up the mountains. 
All the way, from the little cog-wheel railway, we watched 
the energetic mountain climbers as they gathered bluebells, 
roses and daisies. Our destination was the Eiger glacier, and 
here I permitted my son the novelty of pelting his unreproving 
mother with snowballs; an unresistible impulse for both of 
us, since the month was July, and the situation so unique. 


Out of Switzerland we went, by way of the edge of the 
Black Forest, to Heidelberg, in Germany, where my brothers 
had gone to school, to enjoy a glimpse of the University and 
of the ruins of the old and famous castle, overlooking the 
Neckar River, 

We visited my old Aunt Matilda Greenebaum at Frankfort- 
on-the-Main, where she had gone to live after Uncle Isaac 
passed away. They had dwelt in Chicago for many years 
and were much interested in all the family news. Aunt Matilda 
was a dressy old lady, and so in the evening we donned our 
most fashionable attire before going to dine at the "Palmen 
Garten". There, the head gardener informed us that our 
Garfield Park greenhouse, in Chicago, was reputed to be 
much finer than theirs . . . interesting news, surely! Aunt 
Matilda, too, was a mine of information for me! Much to 
my surprise, she even made it known that she had read in an 
American periodical that I had been nominated Trustee of 
the Univ^ersity of Illinois, on the Democratic ticket! I had 
not been consulted, and I was amused rather than impressed 
because, at that time, the Democrats were so far outnumbered 
that a Republican nomination assured election, and I was 
so far away I could relax as I calmly awaited the inevitable 

A pleasant and popular resort called Wildungen was our 
next stop, and there we met many delightful celebrities from 
various countries, including our own. From Wildungen, to 
Wiesbaden, then down the Rhine River with its Lorelei Rock 
and Mouse Tower, both of legendary fame. There, too, were 
the "castles on the Rhine" — baronial ruins suggesting the " 
splendor of bygone days, and, most important to us, the city 
of Bonn where Beethoven was born ! 

We left the boat at Cologne where, of course, we saw the 


Cathedral. The massive bronze doors and portals of this 
magnificent Gothic edifice were tremendously interesting, but 
most wonderful of all, it seemed to me, were the windows 
which might, in truth, be called divinely beautiful! Then 
on, by train, to Brussels, where we saw all the prescribed 
sights and had all the reactions a Baedecker could exact of 
tourists in a foreign land. But the picture of old women, 
sitting in their doorways, in the outskirts of the city, weaving 
with bobbin and thread their intricate patterns of lace will 
remain with me longer than the glories of architecture and 
of scenery. 

Last of all was Paris ! To me, Paris is the most beautiful 
city in the world. Again and again I have visited its galleries, 
and each time brings, anew, an upsurge of marvel and delight. 
There is a great temptation to linger in memory over the 
sights of Paris ! No matter how adequate the fine descriptions 
written by thousands of enthusiastic and well-qualified trav- 
elers, each individual thinks of his own reactions, "They may 
be comparatively 'poor things, but mine own' ". This time, 
however, I shall not stray into that trap! 

France's Grand Rabbi, Zadok Kahn, had given me letters 
to several Jewesses of Paris, and many of my interviews bore 
results, later. In the course of our days, there, I enjoyed a most 
satisfactory visit with Mme. Eugene Simon whom I had met 
in the United States in 1893, when she came to Chicago with 
her husband who was one of the French commissioners to the 
World's Fair. Helen and I were invited to Mme. Simon's 
summer residence at St. Germain. I remember how non- 
chalantly we conversed in French, bravely carrying on despite 
an occasional inaccuracy, such as our amusing statement 
that we had bought delicious cherries, "a mile of them!" 
Several other women were present at luncheon, there, and 


after I had told them of the work of the Council in the United 
States, they decided to form a similar organization. I agreed 
to put them in touch with English women who might be of 
assistance to them, and gave them French translations of the 
Council's constitution, as well as a file of our reports. They 
were especially interested in the question of modernization of 
the Synagogue, and I promised to send them copies of the 
prayer books used by our Reform congregations. It was not 
until afterward that I realized I had been, probably, the first 
woman missionary to the synagogues of Europe ! 

As we drove through the terraced woods of St. Germain 
just an hour before train time, they recalled to my mind 
Alexander Dumas' brilliant description of a butterfly hunt in 
which he relates the story of the meeting between Louis the 
Fourteenth and La Valliere. Away from the busy routine of 
my life at home, I seemed better able to give free rein to my 
thoughts and memories of tales of the past, written by Dumas, 
Balzac and Victor Hugo. 

We left Paris with especial regret, because our holiday was 
drawing to a close. At Cherbourg, where we boarded the 
tender, it was heart-warming to be greeted as old friends by 
the crew of the Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse. The goddess of 
Liberty, too, seemed to be awaiting us with a personal wel- 
come when we reached our own good land. 

According to my diary and the memories still lingering so 
happily, our first European trip was such a success that we 
hoped for another, five years later. In my diary, I wrote, 
"But shall we? The future is screened from sight, but we 
can often lift the curtain of the past to view again, in thoughts, 
the delightful hours of this beautiful silver wedding holiday 
which we spent so joyously, together." 




(Nehemiah vi:7) 

OUR RETURN HOME after our silver wedding journey, at 
the end of August, brought no proverbial "let down", 
for immediately I was plunged deep in preparations for the 
Fourth Triennial of the National Council of Jewish Women 
which was scheduled to take place in Chicago, in December. 
A great deal of necessary groundwork had been done at ex- 
ecutive meetings in St. Louis, in 1904, and in Philadelphia, 
in 1905, and so — on the opening day of the convention — 
on December 5, 1905, we were ready and eager to evaluate, 
in the city of its origin, the book of history the Council had 
written since the day of its birth. 

Illustrative of the many phases of Council activity was the 
program prepared and presented at the Triennial. A splendid 
paper dealing with religion was presented by Josephine Laz- 
arus, who had represented us so ably in a general session of 
the Parliament of Religions, in 1893. Miss Lazarus, whose 
sister, Emma, authored the moving verse inscribed under the 
Statue of Liberty in New York harbor, was a woman of un- 
usual depth and vision and her message was of inestimable 
value and stimulus to all who heard her. All of the speeches 
and papers were remarkable, however, from the standpoints 
of material and presentation, and each served as added proof 


that the Council was contributing its share of constructive 
thought to the problen^s of the day. 

The talks on philanthrophy set forth the newest and best 
methods in social work; the papers on immigration and hous- 
ing struck straight to the heart of each problem. Participating 
in the discussions were Dr. Hirsch, Judge Julian Mack, Julia 
Lathrop and Professor Graham Taylor who was the distin- 
guished head of one of our leading settlements, and founder 
of Chicago's first school of social service. 

Reports were given, also, of the International Council Con- 
vention and the International Congress, in Berlin, and an 
excellent statement for the peace and arbitration committee 
was made by its chairman, Mrs. Hugo Rosenberg. 

The programs were pleasantly varied with interesting social 
affairs like the reception held one afternoon at the Lakeside 
Club which was located at Forty-Second Street and Grand 
Boulevard and was then prominently identified with Jewish 
activities. That same evening marked what really amounted 
to an innovation, when a paper on "Looking Forward" was 
followed by an animated "Round Table". Certainly this was 
looking-forward toward an era when round tables are the 
mainstay of our intellectual life and development, but in 
those days they were rare — almost non-existent. 

Friday night was left open to permit delegates an opportu- 
nity to attend religious services. The convention program 
stated that, "Mr. and Mrs. Henry Solomon will be at home, 
informally, from 9 to 11, to officers, essayists, delegates and 
alternates." We were grateful, indeed, that our house was 
large ! 

Saturday, too, was left free for morning Temple attendance, 
and in the afternoon the convention-eers visited the Univer- 
sity where, said the program, "a reception will be tendered 


by the Women's Union, University of Chicago, from 2 to 4, 
15 Lexington Hall." 

The Fourth Triennial found the Council, then, a well- 
established organization with ninety-seven sections reporting 
a membership of eleven thousand, two hundred and seventy- 
nine Seniors and Juniors. Again we noted steady progress. 
The Juniors had gained a firm foothold; the Seniors had 
reached maturity and numbered, in their ranks, the leading 
Jewesses of the country, the value of whose accomplishments 
was recognized and acclaimed. 

Social changes had occurred, giving women an opportunity 
for more active participation in religious, civic and political 
life. It was a period of almost miraculous growth and de- 
velopment for all women. Our leaders realized that Jewish 
women, always interested in philanthropic and Jewish proj- 
ects, should now participate more actively in civic and legis- 
lative affairs. 

The philanthropies of the Council's sections had grown 
tremendously, and there had been general education in ad- 
vanced methods of procedure. Trained workers were em- 
ployed, wherever possible, and we encouraged women to 
take college courses in social service, for they were then be- 
ginning to be established. Fifty-six different philanthropic 
endeavors were listed in our tabulations! New homes for 
various enterprises had been opened in many sections, in 
addition to those previously created in Albany, Pittsburgh 
and Cleveland. In Portland, there was now the Guild House 
which was a manual training school and settlement; in Phil- 
adelphia, a Council Industrial Home for girls; in New York, 
an asylum for girls and women, called the Lake View Home. 
In cities where juvenile courts now functioned, sections aided 
in securing funds for probation officers and in caring for de- 


linquents. Work in prisons and reformatories was under- 
taken. Many additional clubs, classes, kindergartens and 
vacation schools had been opened and helpfulness to immi- 
grants was general. Some of the agencies we had originally 
established had grown to such proportions they could now 
be turned over to independent agencies and we were cooper- 
ating in a number of national movements. Of particular 
note was the Council's membership, in 1903, in New York's 
Committee on Household Research, which made a survey 
of conditions in household service and studied immigration at 
the country's port-of-entry. The New York section had main- 
tained an agent to act for Jewish women and girls entering the 
United States, and it was the hope of the National board that 
this would become a national Council project, since so much 
work for immigrants was being done by individual sections. 

From the beginning. Council dues had been placed at one 
dollar per annum, so that no women would find them pro- 
hibitive. One-half of the dues was to be kept in the local 
treasury, the other half sent to the National. These sums 
were for current expenses, only, and if projects were to be 
undertaken, money for their financing was to be raised by 
private subscription. 

During my presidency, we continued to secure funds, na- 
tionally, for special needs, by requesting assistance whenever 
the occasion arose, and in every instance a splendid response 
from the sections was immediately forthcoming. Letters sent 
out in 1903, when we received news of the massacre at Kish- 
eneff, brought us eighteen hundred dollars without delay; 
over two thousand dollars was contributed, in the same way, 
to the Russian Relief Fund, and ten thousand dollars had 
been raised, likewise, for Army and Navy work during the 
Spanish-American war. 


It was obvious that if we were to adopt aid to the immigrant 
as Council work on a national scale, a greater national income 
was imperative. The board discussed the advisability of 
raising the dues to two dollars, one dollar per capita of which 
would be turned over to the national treasury. The original 
plan for voluntary subscriptions was of great help, but not 
sufficient to warrant any project requiring much money, 
unless we employed a special agent for the purpose of pro- 
curing funds. 

The board realized all the implications and attendant dif- 
ficulties. Dual claims had developed! Local philanthropies 
had been projected, in addition to those undertaken by the 
National. The local sections, however, could raise money 
in their communities, while the National could draw only 
upon its own treasury. A choice had to be made, therefore 
between an increase for the treasury, or curtailment of na- 
tional work. Lengthy and heated was the argument and 
discussion at the Chicago convention before the two dollar 
dues was finally voted. In consequence, much bitterness de- 
veloped, but we were nonetheless enabled to establish Im- 
migrant Aid as a national philanthropy. No one questioned 
the importance of adopting this project, and certainly it 
proved its tremendous worth during World War I, when 
our government appointed the National Council of Jewish 
Women as the official group to be stationed at Ellis Island, 
to receive all incoming women and children, and to arrange 
for their departure to various points on American soil. 

Up to 1904, no salaries had been paid to Council workers, 
with the exception of stenographers and those persons em- 
ployed for similar incidental services. Now, however, the 
board agreed that the work had progressed to a point where 
other arrangements were not only feasible but desirable. It 


was therefore voted to make Miss American — formerly the 
secretary — the Council's executive secretary, at a stipulated 
yearly salary. Jeanette Miriam Goldberg who was elected 
official organizer for the Council, was likewise voted a nominal 

I refused reelection at the Chicago Triennial, and Mrs. 
Hugo Rosenberg, of Pittsburgh, assumed the Council presi- 
dency. Great was my happiness, at that time, to be elected 
honorary president, in which capacity I have served ever 
since. That, too, was the delightful occasion upon which I 
was presented with a beautiful Tiffany lamp — grandeur of 
grandeurs ! — at one of the evening sessions. I was called 
from the rostrum, I remember, and skillfully detained in an 
adjoining room until the lamp was installed, in all its glory, 
upon a table on the platform. I was then recalled to the 
assembly-room where, with "pomp and circumstance" a 
memorable presentation was made! As Mrs. Andrews, of 
Boston, made her charming and heart-warming speech, and 
I saw the light shining through the exquisite glass shade of 
the lamp with its bronze placque, appropriately inscribed, I 
knew that moment would live always, in my thoughts, sur- 
rounded by an equal and undimmed radiance. The lovely 
lamp is still one of my most beloved possessions, as is the 
handsome silver loving cup, which was the gift from the board 
when I retired from the presidency. 

And now I felt I must try to rest. The Council was always 
fortunate in its numbers of loyal, efficient and responsible 
workers, by whom its many arduous commitments would be 
admirably fulfilled, and I could, again, pick up the threads 
of tasks, unfinished. I had agreed to act in an advisory cap- 
acity in a number of activities; there were innumerable books 
waiting to be read and promised articles to be written and 


friends and relatives from whom I had been too much apart. 
I knew that I should not be idle. My years of devotion to 
the Council had brought unexpected richness and fulness of 
life, engendering an eagerness to participate wherever I could, 
and to contribute, with delight, whenever I was called to 

The success of the Council was so overwhelming, so far 
beyond our most optimistic hope, that in my gratitude I 
could have said, "Dayenu" (it would have been enough!) 
But, in addition, the unexpected personal returns that brought 
me such constant joy, taught me that earnest effort in a cause 
that lifts one out of oneself, invariably brings unsuspected 
and rewarding by-products. 



(2 Kings iv:26) 

UNDOUBTEDLY, the ycars from 1893 to 1905 were the busi- 
est of my life ! Hours of each day I had spent at my 
desk, always with a secretary working beside me. When, in 
1905, I gave up the Council presidency, I thought I saw the 
beginning of lessened labors. Never, however, did I lose con- 
tact with work begun, and up to my seventieth year I served 
actively on boards and committees, of which the greater num- 
ber dealt with suffering humanity. Whenever I was asked, 
as I frequently was, "How do you endure all you see and 
hear?", my invariable answer was, "I believe all sense of 
horror leaves us when we stretch out our hands to help." 

No project ever affected me more deeply than that which 
came to the Reform Department of the Chicago Woman's 
Club in 1905; the task of investigating and reorganizing the 
Illinois Industrial School for Girls. This institution, located 
in Evanston, just north of Chicago, had been founded in 1876, 
under a then-new law, passed by the state in the interest of 
dependent girls. It had become shockingly demoralized be- 
cause its board did not raise enough money for operation at 
an adequate standard and the county, therefore, had discon- 
tinued paying its pro rata share for the maintenance of the 
children. I was appointed, by the Club, to serve on the in- 
vestigation committee, and soon found myself a membenof 
the school's board of which I later became president. 


On the first of January, 1907, an entirely new board was 
formed, of which Jane Addams and Mrs. Henrotin were 
members. Among the liabilities we inherited when we took 
over was a large debt which we were able to liquidate during 
our first year, by means of what was then a unique departure. 
We arranged, in the summer, a benefit baseball game, for 
which we were granted the use of the National League Base- 
ball Park on the South Side. It was, I believe, the first time 
in the history of Chicago, that anyone had staged an athletic 
event for charitable purposes. Prior to that time, the usual 
money-raising ventures had been bazaars and an occasional 
theatrical performance, but I think I am right in stating that 
no one had ever before held a baseball game to assist a 
philanthropy. The competing teams, the Gunthers and the 
Ansons, coached by the well-known Captain Anson, himself, 
were contending for a cup off'ered by our Mayor Busse. Our 
board facetiously referred to it as "Mrs. Solomon's game", 
and a great deal of effort was expended to make it a financial 
success. Picture, then, our gratification, when about eight 
thousand dollars was realized ! As a matter of fact, it was a 
tremendous game we were all playing in our determination 
to re-form the Illinois Industrial School for Girls ! 

Our building, which had been an old soldiers' home, was 
totally unsuitable, for it was bare, big and forbidding, in poor 
condition and miserably equipped. We had, in our care, one 
hundred and twenty-five girls; the oldest was eighteen years 
of age, the youngest only five. These children were in such 
a wretched state that we all agreed the first requisite was to 
substitute nurses for teachers! As Dr. Sarah Brayton, who 
entered into the situation with us, said, "the health and 
physical assets of the children were much on a par with the 
financial status of the school there was need of imme- 


diate interference and the correction of existing conditions, 
the most earnest plea coming from the pale anemic faces of 
the children." She went on to say, "They needed more out 
of doors and less drudgery. Then we found that warm cloth- 
ing and shoes were lacking." Thanks to Dr. Brayton and her 
assistants, within six months, "the weary, hopeless look of the 
underfed with its sullen discontent, gave way to a happier, 
healthier tone of mind and body." At the end of our first 
year, order had emerged from utter and deplorable chaos ! 

The Chicago Woman's Club fortified us with its original 
determination to see conditions in the school changed. It 
provided five hundred dollars from its treasury, and a little 
later gave us an additional two thousand, five hundred as a 
loan; the Reform Department then voted us one hundred 
dollars and individual members contributed still another four 
hundred. Our new board attacked the problems with vigor! 
We secured an excellent advisory committee of men, includ- 
ing Judge Tuthill, Judge Mack, Edward Brundage, Louis M. 
Greeley and my brother, Ben Greenebaum. A group of emi- 
nent specialists served as consulting physicians, and we voted 
into the corporation such outstanding persons in the com- 
munity as Mrs. Ella Flagg Young, Mrs. Emmons Blaine, 
Mrs. James Houghteling, Mrs. Andrew MacLeish, and others. 

Fortunately, there were several particularly cheering cir- 
cumstances in our otherwise dreary picture. One was some 
land we owned, in Park Ridge, Illinois, not far distant from 
Chicago, and we planned, from the first, to find ways and 
means for leaving Evanston and developing the school into 
a model institution on this forty-acre farm. Another bright 
spot was the income from a legacy of one hundred and fifty 
thousand dollars, bequeathed to us by a Mrs. Straut, which 
we could use for our needs. Since this bequest was then in 


litigation, Louis Greeley and my brother, Ben, represented 
us with the other legatees. 

Even though we did not expect to remain in Evanston 
longer than necessary, we were obliged to make some improve- 
ments in the old building, and we adoped a modernized school 
plan as quickly as possible. The school then became a fine 
example of cooperation: the Vacation School committee furn- 
ished a teacher during the summer; the Art Institute loaned 
us members of its senior class in normal training and the 
School of Domestic Arts and Science provided instruction in 
cooking and sewing. 

In 1907 we sold the Evanston property, and though it held 
a mortgage of twenty-five thousand dollars, there was equity 
remaining after the sale, making it possible for us to proceed 
immediately with our plans for Park Ridge. While the new 
buildings were being erected our children were placed in 
private homes where we paid for their care; a teacher was 
employed to visit them, so that we could continue to keep 
them under our supervision. Soon all was auspicious for the 
opening of our new Park Ridge School for Girls, as it has 
been known ever since. 

The school is built on the cottage plan, and at the entrance 
to the grounds stands the first house, named "Solomon Cot- 
tage" at the request of Julius Rosenwald, by whom the funds 
for its erection were donated. In 1911 the Chicago Woman's 
Club Cottage was reported as "built, furnished and the plant- 
ing provided for", and it has been maintained by the organi- 
zation ever since. The Illinois State Federation of Women's 
Clubs, which has continued its steady interest in the institu- 
tion, also presented a building, and provides for its upkeep 
from year to year. 
Today we have a large, important institution with many 


buildings upon its well-kept grounds. When last I inquired, 
I found its staff numbered seventeen persons and its faculty, 
nine. The children are carried through the high school 

The Park Ridge School for Girls has, indeed, developed as 
we hoped and it is heartening, now, to see a group of healthy, 
well-groomed young girls working or playing happily together 
under the supervision of trained personnel, in an atmosphere 
conducive to the formation of character and the growth of 
skills. The children find a real home at Park Ridge, as well 
as a school, and permanent friendships are established be- 
tween the girls and with the superintendent and teachers. 

There is, however, no such thing as a detached project, 
and one day I found myself on the way to visit our law- 
makers, in Springfield. When we first became interested in 
the Illinois Industrial School, we realized that ten dollars per 
month from public funds was too small an allowance toward 
the feeding, clothing and educating of a child who was a 
public charge. So, we applied to the legislature for an in- 
crease, and remained in Springfield long enough to see the 
law changed to a grant of fifteen dollars, the amount now 
allotted for each girl in all public institutions in Illinois. 

We learned, when we began our investigations, that some 
of the children had been delinquents. These, of course, should 
never have been admitted and, as soon as we were able, they 
were transferred to the institution to which they should have 
been entrusted in the first place. After that, we were in con- 
stant touch with the courts. 

This, in turn, led to a deep concern with the problem of 
juvenile delinquency. The difficulties of the children with 
whom we worked resulted, for the most part, from the com- 
mercialized vice rampant wherever the poor lived in congested 


districts, and those who practiced it considered the immigrants 
their legitimate prey. Pennies went to operators of pool rooms, 
dance halls chiefly owned and run by saloon-keepers or brew- 
eries, and to low theaters where the white-slavers congregated. 
In one such place, little girls were actually trapped ! Thanks 
to Mayor Edward Dunne, we succeeded in having its license 
revoked and it was never permitted to reopen. 

We realized that the causes creating delinquency were 
many, but one of the worst — commercialized vice — was 
then treated most casually. Sometimes under the protection 
of an alderman or a dishonest policeman or a dealer who sold 
them merchandise, unscrupulous vultures were vouched for 
as respectable citizens, and allowed to ply their trade. Crimes 
against children were not punished severely enough, and, at 
the same time, the cases of delinquent and dependent young 
people were handled with a complete lack of intelligence. 
Dependents were often lodged in poor-houses; minors were 
confined for slight misdemeanors, and placed in police sta- 
tions and jails, in the company of hardened criminals. Later, 
the John Worthy School was established. This was an insti- 
tution where the boys were taught, "not merely the rudiments 
of a common school education, but manual training, as well, 
in a well-equipped manual training department." 

In 1892, the Reform Department of the Chicago's Woman 
Club assumed the responsibility for placing a teacher in the 
city jail and paying her salary. In the Annals of the Club 
we read, "The Sheriff" allowed her the privilege of teaching 
the boys in the corridor of the jail from 9:30 until 11 :30 A.M. 
The attendance of boys varied from fifteen to fifty, the ages 
ranging from ten to sixteen years. 

More and more did the Club become a factor in education. 
From its earliest days, the Kindergarten, then a new pedagogic 


field, enlisted its interest. The Club's insistence that women 
be appointed to the Board of Education met with success 
and, for the most part, those who have acted in such a capac- 
ity have been members of that body, and have kept alive a 
most vital interest in our schools. 

The constant increase in numbers of women in organiza- 
tion work has added, immeasurably, to their service in legis- 
lating for better conditions for women and children. Seeing 
the advantage resulting from their combined strength, these 
groups united for joint effort and large practical undertakings 
were launched. One of the earliest accomplishments was the 
appointment of a woman physician at Dunning, in the Cook 
County Insane Asylum. Politics suffered brutality and un- 
scientific treatment of patients to exist in spite of the attempts 
of excellent physicians to introduce improved methods of pro- 
cedure, and newspapers of the era tell of many unbelievable 

Progress had been made, indeed, since the days when the 
Chicago Woman's Club had urged that children, many of 
them under ten, be taken from the jails and a special depart- 
ment be provided for them. Furthermore, a special time had 
been assigned for the hearing of juvenile cases in court, and 
as the years passed, still more appropriate methods for deal- 
ing with delinquency were developed. Then, two splendid 
women, Mrs. Lucy Flower and Julia Lathrop, led the fight 
for the passage of an adequate bill by the State Legislature, 
and the consequent establishment of the Juvenile Court. This 
was a field which held my most earnest interest, and I served 
as a member of the Juvenile Court Committee of Chicago, 
for many years. Miss Lathrop later became the first head 
of the Children's Bureau in Washington. My attention was 
called to an article written by Elbert Hubbard many years 


ago, in his publication, "The Philistine", in which he urged 
that a Children's Bureau be established. He suggested a num- 
ber of women who might be appointed as its head, and I was 
honored to read that my interest in the plight of unfortunate 
children prompted Mr. Hubbard to place my name on his list. 

It is doubtful that any individual performed a greater serv- 
ice for the reform of our social agencies than Mrs. Lucy 
Flower, and great improvement appeared in whatever work 
she undertook. She was the founder of the Everyday Club, 
and was, for many years, its president. This was a small or- 
ganization, but very strong in influence, with membership 
limited to persons who were contributing in one way or an- 
other to the public weal. At luncheon meetings we discussed 
every-day affairs, and many of the celebrated men and women 
who had participated in the World's Fair Congresses were our 
speakers. Often the discussions led to practical results. The 
Everyday Club's effort in behalf of the Juvenile Court was 
constant, culminating with a large luncheon to which many 
judges and others who were sympathetic to the needs of de- 
linquent children were invited. History was made when the 
Illinois Legislature passed the Juvenile Court Bill on July 1 , 
1899, and Chicago's Juvenile Court — the first in the world 
— was established ! 

Let no one think, however, that the Juvenile Court sprang 
forth, in full growth, as did Athena from the head of Zeus ! 
Indeed, no! At first, we who were interested, were obliged 
to secure volunteers and to collect funds for the salaries of 
probation officers. The Bureau of Personal Service financed 
three, one of whom was paid by the Juvenile Court Commit- 
tee. In our district, too, many Friendly Visitors served as 
investigators of the Jewish cases. 

If the Juvenile Court has not achieved all we had hoped, 


it is only because no such institution can work miracles. We 
recognize that the prevention of delinquency must be our first 
concern, and the factors that must be dealt with in order to 
accomplish that goal are many. We must see to it, at least, 
that housing conditions are bettered; that the care of adoles- 
cents is more intelligent and, certainly, we must insist that 
not only must drastic punishment be ordered for those respons- 
bile for the delinquency of children, but that it is carried 
out — and promptly ! 

Judge Tuthill was the first to sit on the bench of the Juvenile 
Court, and he was followed by Judge Julian Mack, one of 
Chicago's most eminent men. But it is impossible to think of 
the Court's development in Chicago without paying tribute 
to Judge Mary Bartelme who brought to her office, in addi- 
tion to her professional understanding and rare judgment, 
the high human qualities with which a superior woman is 
endowed. I had known and admired Mary Bartelme for years ! 
Her brother, Alfred, worked in my father's business beside 
my own brothers, and his sterling qualities paralleled those 
of his sister. Years after my parents had moved to the South 
Side, Alfred Bartelme walked down Adams Street when our 
old house was being torn down. There he managed to obtain 
one of its frosted glass-paned front doors which he placed in 
his own home to remain for him, as he put it, "a permanent 
symbol of hospitality." 

My thoughts revert insistently to Adams Street. How deplor- 
able the contrast between the misery of some of Chicago's chil- 
dren, and the dear "Adams Street house" where only happy 
children lived ! No life is complete which has not, in its span, 
consciousness of light taken from the bright places in its own 
and transmitted into homes of sorrow and gloom, dividing the 
fullness of earth with those whose portions are nothingness. 




(Deuteronomy viii:3) 

ONE Sunday afternoon, in 1905, a dynamic, attractive 
young woman whom I had never seen before, called on 
me. Her name was Louise Loeb, she told me. She had moved 
to Chicago just the year before, to study dramatic art. It had 
occurred to her that an informal organization for the study 
of Hterature would find favor with our Jewish group which, 
she felt, possessed a background of real interest and education. 
Since she, herself, had not yet a wide acquaintanceship in 
the city, she had come to me to enlist my assistance in pro- 
moting her idea. To me it seemed not only feasible, but 
desirable. Not long after, therefore, a group of seven young 
people, including my daughter Helen, met and agreed upon 
a plan. 

A membership committee compiled a list of one hundred 
eligible persons, and sent out invitations to an initial meeting, 
to be held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Julius Rosenwald. 

It was an enthusiastic assembly that foregathered on the 
appointed evening to launch the new organization, of which 
Judge Julian Mack was made president and Dr. Emil G. 
Hirsch, honorary president. Thus the Book and Play Club, 
of which I am now an honorary member, was started on its 
way to eminence. Those were before the times so familiar to 


us today, when our cities are practically glutted with series of 
lectures and forums, and so the Book and Play Club became 
a decided and welcome cultural acquisition. All of the speak- 
ers were individuals of note, and their talks were concluded, 
regularly, by open and general discussion, followed by a pleas- 
ant social hour, for most of the members were old friends. 

The last meeting of each year was a "Gridiron" dinner 
at which many came in for a share of the "roasting", and our 
most talented actors and writers blossomed forth with skits 
of remarkable cleverness. We look back, for example, to one 
especially delightful moment when Fannie Bloomfield Zeisler, 
herself, strutted the boards. She appeared as a mechanical 
doll, and walking stiffly across the stage, she seated herself at 
the piano and played beautifully. In the midst of the com- 
position she arose from the bench and rigidly marched off . . . 
but the music continued ! She had made a record and placed 
it in the "piano-player", so that she was able, actually, to 
press the keys in perfect synchronization with the machine 
mechanism, and she did such a superlative job that even 
those members of the audience who were seated close at hand, 
on the very platform with her, never dreamed it was all a 
hoax! Another "Gridiron" boasted George S. Kaufman, the 
noted playwright, among its authors, for he lived in Chicago 
for a time and belonged to the organization. The Book and 
Play Club still thrives! It has lost its close personal aspect 
since the meetings are no longer held in private homes — it 
met often in ours — but it still contributes much, especially 
to the men who have not the constant opportunity, as have 
the women, of hearing the great and the near-great upon the 
lecture platform. Nothing, perhaps, sufficiently emphasizes 
the dramatic increase in cultural advantages time brings to 
each succeeding generations. Now, through press and radio, 


the finest contributions are brought to us directly and daily. 
But, as I look back over long years to the many stimulating 
evenings of the Book and Play Club, each appearance of 
poets, prose writers and prominent representatives of other 
fields was an event! 

I remember many; among them Tagore, Edna St. Vincent 
Millay, Van Loon, Lorado Taft modelling in clay as he 
talked to us, and countless others. None of us who heard 
him can ever forget Von Luckner who had run a blockade, 
successfully, in World War I. We sat on the edges of our 
chairs for over three hours, as he held us spellbound by the 
drama of his story. Stephen Wise, too, spoke to us some thirty 
years ago, and he and his wife dined at our home before the 
meeting. Rabbi Wise was in his prime then, a magnificent 
speaker, and already a leader of men. But today he seems 
still in the prime of life, for he has never lost his youthful 
zest and zeal or his gift of magnetic oratory. 

Such delightful activities as the Book and Play Club, how- 
ever, were but pleasant and stimulating accents to busy days 
of work. It was but natural, therefore, that by the summer 
of 1908 I found myself sorely in need of a rest after concen- 
trated effort in behalf of the Park Ridge School for Girls. 
My sister, Henriette, and her husband were summering in 
northern Wisconsin, and it was decided that I should join 
them there. 

Camp Franklin, my destination, was situated some fourteen 
miles from the railroad station, and it was necessary for the 
hotel management to send a wagon and team of horses to 
transport me and my trunk. It was obvious, from the moment 
I first saw the driver, that he had arrived at the station long, 
long before traintime, and that he had employed that inter- 
val in a fairly steady imbibing of intoxicants ! I certainly did 


not relish the ride ahead, in his company, but since the 
thought of remaining in the uncomfortable and isolated little 
station was not much more enticing, I climbed up into the 
wagon, and we jounced off. Sure enough ! We had driven 
but a short distance when my companion began to nod! 
Another few yards, and he was dozing! Desperately I at- 
tempted to keep him awake, and finally decided that perhaps 
a little sprightly conversation might serve my purpose. I 
launched forth with the first thought that presented itself. 

"My," I exclaimed, as we drove through the burned re- 
mains of a forest. "Whv doesn't your state pull up those 
charred trees and plant growing ones?" 

"Ur-r-umph!" was the grunted reply. He nodded; he 
dozed; I looked around for another interesting subject for con- 
versation. We came to a stretch of swampland where the 
wagon-wheels splashed and moaned through puddles until I 
was dotted with mud. 

"How unpleasant and unhealthful," I exclaimed. "Now 
why aren't these swamps drained?" 

He turned toward me, glaring. Ah, ha! I thought, now 
I've caught his interest! At last he's really awake! What a 
blow to my complacence were the next words he sneered out 
at me! 

"Say, lady," he drawled, menacingly, "You'd sure have a 
lot to do, wouldn't yah, if you lived here?" 

That we finally reached home safely was due entirely to 
the intelligence of the horses. And the moral of this incident 
is, I suppose, that it's just what the reformer can expect 
whenever he hurls his ever-active mental agitation against 
the inevitable stone-wall of the public's apathy ! 

When I refused to stand for reelection to the presidency 
of the Park Ridge School, in 1909, Mrs. Henrotin, who had 


stood by from the first, rendering assistance at every possible 
point, assumed the office and carried on, heroically, for a long 
period of time. I served as an active member of the bc^ard 
for many years and have always retained my deep interest 
in the school. I must admit, however, that the reorganization 
of the institution had imposed a strenuous and consistent ef- 
fort in its behalf and, for the first time in my life, I was com- 
pletely exhausted. So, in the spring at the Easter season, 
Helen and I went to Atlantic City where my husband joined 
us, later. How we all enjoyed that wonderful rest together, 
beside the ocean ! 

At intervals, in one's journey through life, a pause is im- 
portant. I cannot say that I spent many moments in con- 
scious evaluation of past experiences, as some people so fre- 
quently do, or even in planning for the future. But surely, 
in days of continuous repose, there comes a revival of the 
balance and urge so essential for furthering endeavors, and a 
shifting of emphasis readies one to attack problems, again, 
with renewed vigor and enthusiasm. 

Vacations for pure enjoyment never particularly appealed 
to me. Music, the theater and literary pursuits as well as 
pleasant social relationships were a part of our daily living 
and a strand of gaiety wove its way in and out as we went 
along. But each summer my husband and I went away to- 
gether for relaxation and rest. In 1909 we took our third trip 
to Canada, going through the Muskoko Lakes and returning 
by way of Toronto. 

The room we had engaged at the hotel of our choice in 
Toronto was not available, to our regret, because the annual 
exposition was in progress at the time. However, the manager 
had made reservations for us at another place, some distance 
away. He offered to send our bags on for us and we accepted 


the suggestion gratefully, as we planned to spend the evening 
at the theater. It was, therefore, midnight when we reached 
our hotel and there, in place of my bag, we found a grip 
awaiting us that was filled with men's clothing and featuring, 
in addition, a huge bottle of whiskey! We telephoned, imme- 
diately, to the hotel from which it had been sent, informing 
the clerk there of the error. "Have you that satchel?" he 
gasped. "The person to whom it belongs is the angriest man 
in Canada ! He wanted to leave town on an early train, and 
was wild because he couldn't continue his trip with a gripful 
of women's duds!" Poor man! We could be amused, but he 
had been inconvenienced. Besides, since we were not to blame 
we need not experience even the slightest chagrin. 

We were delighted we had decided to visit Toronto because 
we found the Exposition there most worth while. My greatest 
interest centered about the medical section where, in glass 
cases, lay tube after tube filled with precious serums. What 
an advance, since the days when vaccination against small- 
pox was unique! I was convinced that, one by one, all dis- 
eases would be vanquished ... an optimistic conjecture that 
must wait a long time for fulfillment, I fear ! 

Never did Canada and the Great Lakes regions lose their 
attraction for us as a vacation spot, and we returned again 
and again, from Lake Superior to the Saguenay, down the 
St. Lawrence to Montreal, to Ottawa, to Toronto, to Quebec, 
and — often — to Mackinac Island and Niagara Falls. 

We are all chemical compounds of geography, animated by 
psychic influences of history. Time and place are the deter- 
mining factors in our development, spiritual and physical. 





(Psalms xc:17) 

WHEN THE International Council of Women held their 
convention in Toronto in 1 909, the foreign delegates — 
fifty-three of them, from Great Britain, Germany, Holland 
and Sweden — took occasion to travel across the continent, 
tarrying for two days in Chicago. Jane Addams and I served 
as honorary chairman and chairman of the committee that 
arranged for their entertainment, and for the first day we ar- 
ranged a formal luncheon at the South Shore Country Club. 
Officials of the city and a number of the foreign consuls were 
invited to be present and to address the gathering. Short 
speeches, too, were given by women from abroad; Jane 
Addams represented our American group and I presided. 

A drive through the city, in the afternoon, gave our visitors 
an opportunity to see the parks and playgrounds, the fine 
residences and public buildings for which Chicago was noted, 
even then. But the highspot of the afternoon was, by all odds, 
teatime, which we spent with Miss Addams, at the Hull House 
Coffee Shop. The shop had been opened in the days when I 
was devoting much time to the Bureau of Personal Service 
and was important to the district. It provided an ideal meet- 
ing place for those of us who were active in the West Side 
neighborhood in which foreign groups had settled. Many 


were the social and civic problems discussed within its friendly 
walls. It seemed to us a most fitting place to end the delight- 
ful day with our guests from other lands, rounding out our 
good-will gathering, and making it one long to be remembered. 

There was, at this time, a growing civic consciousness 
among the women of Chicago, and more and more were we 
participating in all that pertained to our city's welfare. Com- 
mittees multiplied and we found ourselves engaged in an in- 
creasing number of enterprizes. We were beginning to wonder, 
too, about the management of our city. At last there were 
men in the community who had come to the realization that 
our interest would be valuable! In 1910, Medill McCormick 
called together a group of very busy women and urged that 
they turn their intensive thought to civic affairs. Then and 
there we decided to organize the Women's City Club, of 
which I became a charter member, serving as vice-president. 

My first effort for the new organization was as chairman 
of City Waste, with Mary McDowell and Harriet Vittum as 
able assistants. Miss McDowell was head resident of the Uni- 
versity of Chicago Settlement, and Miss Vittum later held 
the same position at that founded by Northwestern University. 
It was my rare fortune to be closely associated with these 
fine women for many years. 

Mary McDowell had the Chicago Stock Yards practically 
in her back yard and "Bubbly Creek", thick with Stock Yards 
waste, in her immediate vicinity. I must admit that, at times, 
the Stock Yards odor reached even our dwelling on Forty- 
Fourth and Michigan Avenue, many miles away! But it 
was not because of her own personal discomfort that Miss 
McDowell labored. She often told of going to court with a 
large group of her neighbors to attend a meeting of the 
Finance Committee of the City Council when the waste dis- 


posal situation was discussed. It was there that the aristo- 
cratic young lawyer for the Reduction Plant to which the 
garbage wagons daily made their pilgrimage represented the 
company's interest by pleading for its retention in that neigh- 
borhood. The plant had to be located somewhere in the city, 
he argued. Certainly it was best to keep it where the people 
were "a less sensitive group." Instead of reacting to this 
statement with anger, the folks of Miss McDowell's vicinity 
met it with laughs ! Indeed, their amusement throughout his 
speech was helpfully disconcerting. 

Miss Vittum, too, had a repertoire of amusing incidents 
which she told with gusto. One of them, which she loved to 
bring forth whenever the occasion warranted, pointed the 
finger of fun at me. Now, as I think back, I am dismayed to 
remember how ill-equipped we women were for some of the 
work we did! Today it seems almost unbelievable that we 
could be so earnest yet so unprepared; that it just never oc- 
curred to us to include, for example, some apparel in our 
wardrobes, suitable to the jobs we undertook. Yet so it must 
have been, for surely Miss Vittum spoke the truth when she 
said, "And there . . . making a personal inspection tour of 
one of the city's most unsavoury dumps, was our Mrs. Solo- 
mon, clad in a trailing gown of white cotton lace and clutch- 
ing in her white-gloved hands a matching parasol!" 

The first report of the Committee on City Waste presented 
the results of a thorough investigation of the methods em- 
ployed for handling garbage throughout our city. City dumps, 
polluted water supplies, open garbage trucks, garbage disposal 
plants — all came under our fire. 

In 1911 the Chicago Woman's Club Reform Department 
appointed an ordinance committee on which Mrs. Herman 
Landauer and I served as chairman and vice-chairman. Over 


I not only wore white for garbage inspection, but 
frequently in the evening, as well 

a period of time we selected city ordinances with which we 
believed the general public should be familiar and arranged 
to have them appear, daily, in various newspapers, including 
many periodicals published in foreign languages. Later we 
collected and printed the laws in a booklet called "City Ordi- 
nances You Ought to Know", and these were widely distrib- 
uted. Thousands were ordered by the Superintendent of 
Schools for the higher grades and city policemen were also 
given copies. Perhaps some of them even read them. Who 

Regardless of trained skirts and aesthetic preferences, 
women went marching on ! As a law enforcement committee, 
we investigated pictures shown in the various arcades, finding 
many that were obscene and unfit for children. We also were 
given occasional assignments to see plays, making our reports 
to the police department through which office all public exhi- 
bitions were supervised. Advertising material was included, 
for it, too, was supposed to conform to rules of decency. We 
succeeded in keeping from our stage performances that were 
exceptionally vulgar or portrayed vice and we aided in fram- 
ing a motion picture law which was passed in 1907, and 
held valid in 1909 by the State Supreme Court. 

The office of the Second Deputy of Police was created in 
1912 and the censorship of films, as well as of public perform- 
ances of all kinds, was placed in this department. Constant 
differences occurred between producers and the department 
and many pictures were found unfit for public exhibition. In 
1919, seventy-five were totally rejected and over one hundred 
thousand feet of film eliminated from otherwise satisfactory 
sequences. Our committee continued to aid the censor and, 
in cases of controversy, was always upheld in the courts. It 
was conceded that clubs, churches and the public, as well, 


were effective in preventing the exhibition of pictures violat- 
ing the law which prohibited showing vice, crime, degrada- 
tion of women and defiance of laws. Needless to say, situations 
gave endless opportunity for bribery and corruption. The 
office of the Second Deputy was later abolished, largely 
through political pressure, and the censors were placed, again, 
directly under the police superintendent. 

It took splendid cooperation to remain vigilant in behalf 
of decent pictures. As chairman of the Chicago Woman's 
Club committee on motion pictures, I called together repre- 
sentatives of the large women's organizations which were in- 
terested in the same project and the Joint Committee on 
Motion Pictures was created. Mrs. George Bass of the Chicago 
Woman's Club became its first chairman. This committee 
existed as an influential body for many years and only re- 
cently was it dissolved. Many clubs, however, still retain 
their motion picture committees. 

The Motion Picture ordinance was often attacked, but in 
all cases it was sustained, as there has been a marked change 
in sentiment toward public exhibitions. The generation after 
World War I moved far beyond the bounds of decency, but 
today, although there is no predisposition to return to Puritan- 
ism, there is nevertheless a distinct desire to swing back to 
more wholesome standards as well as to preserve prescribed 
regulations. The producers, in self-interest we admit, impose 
some restraint themselves. 

The motion picture industry has developed into a high art 
and has been a boon, furnishing a medium of recreation open 
to all. During the "depression" many would have been shut 
out from all enjoyment of play-going had it not been for the 
"movies". These, with the marvels of radio, have educated 
the rank and file to high-grade performances definitely ad- 


vancing the aesthetic cultivation of the arts in our day. It 
was essential, indeed, that many new ways should be found 
for distributing opportunity for education and recreation so 
that privileges should accrue to all rather than to those with 
healthy pocketbooks, only. 

The city of Chicago was becoming a great metropolis. The 
parks and museums, as well as the public libraries, were open, 
of course, to all. The Historical Society had^its own brown- 
stone building on Dearborn Street, housing relics of old Chi- 
cago which already, even to me, seemed to belong to legend- 
ary times. In Lincoln Park there was located the Luther 
Laflin Museum of Natural History, famous throughout the 
country for the manner in which its exhibits were arranged. 
Here was reputed to be found the first results of an attempt 
to combine the skills of taxidermists and artists in portraying 
animals in their own habitats, and wonderfully successful they 
were, all agreed. 

Our great pride was the Art Institute with its fine old 
masters procured through the influence of Charles Hutchin- 
son, the Institute's first president. Jules Breton's "Song of 
the Lark", the piece de resistance from the standpoint of the 
general public of the day, was a part of the Field Collection 
where many examples of the Barbizon School were hung. 
Plaster cases of the Elgin Marbles and of other famous Greek 
and Roman statues stood in the room in which we had held 
our Jewish Women's Congress in 1893. And, just beyond, in 
the corridor, Chicago's Lorado Taft was represented by his 
beautiful marble concept of "The Solitude of the Soul." 
Modern art had not yet come into its own, nor had the 
Institute, in those early years, grown to its present great 

In the city, also, I witnessed the erection of theaters upon 


whose stages great plays were being performed. There was 
one we found particularly impressive. Thanks to the renowned 
genius of Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler, wizard archi- 
tects, we had our wonderful Auditorium, second to none in 
the country. My husband and I were there at the dedication, 
when the beloved Adelina Patti sang. At the Auditorium 
were presented the famous operas and here, too, on Friday 
afternoons and Saturday evenings through the season, Theo- 
dore Thomas and his orchestra presented their glorious con- 
certs. From time to time a new trend in music was introduced 
and was discussed with the same scepticism or enthusiasm as 
were later expended upon Debussy, Ravel and their contem- 
poraries. It is true that only tickets for the topmost gallery, 
which seemed miles distant from the stage, were within the 
reach of those with slender means. As yet, education in the 
fields of art and letters, available to the affluent and the so- 
called "intelligentsia", had not been taken for granted as the 
heritage of all. But finally there dawned a new day! A day 
when motion pictures and radio brought to everyone the op- 
portunity to become familiar with the best that the creative 
genius of man has produced ! 

Greater museums were now developed. The Art Institute 
grew more impressive, year by year. The magnificent build- 
ing for the Field Museum of Natural History was ready for 
occupancy in 1918; in Jackson Park the crumbling Art Palace 
of the World's Fair of 1893 — "poetry in plaster" — was being 
saved by the combined efforts of some farsighted women of 
the Woman's Club and an appreciative citizenry which felt 
that so great a glory as it had been must be preserved. It 
was recreated in stone by the city of Chicago — a dream 
made real. Knowing that the fruits of industry were, in them- 
selves, an art, and believing that in the galaxy of Chicago's 


exhibitions there should be one which would tell of the prog- 
ress that the labors of men had produced, Julius Rosenwald 
made possible the conversion of this building into the Museum 
of Science and Industry. 

In Grant Park, near the Field Museum, the Adler Plane- 
tarium, presented by Mr. and Mrs. Max Adler, was erected, 
where one might see the stars of the firmament shining in a 
miniature sky, and watch them move in their orderly proces- 
sion. Close by was the Shedd Aquarium, while in Lincoln 
Park a fine new building housed the Chicago Historical 
Society. Chicago was developing a new social consciousness, 
becoming increasingly interested in providing the finest pos- 
sible educational and recreational facilities for all of its people. 
Stronger and stronger was growing the realization that men 
and women cannot be measured only by the ability and justice 
with which they administer their own affairs, but by their 
devotion to the public weal. 




(Jeremiah vi:14) 

THE FREQUENT RECURRENCE of Council Triennials and ex- 
ecutive meetings kept me travelling from one end of the 
country to the other. Through all my years of Council work 
I have been deeply appreciative of the heart-warming recep- 
tion I have been accorded everywhere. Indeed, there are few 
states in the Union I have not visited, and I have the pleas- 
antest recollections of speaking in synagogues in many cities 
in which Council sections are located. 

In the spring of 1915, I attended an executive meeting 
held in San Francisco at the time the Panama-Pacific Inter- 
national Exposition was in progress. 

One of the laughable experiences of this trip now comes 
to my mind. Changing cars at Williams, we found the train 
in which we were to travel through the night, so crowded 
that no lower accomodations were available. I was a little 
disconcerted, because the road-bed was rough, but a woman 
who was much older than I was talking so casually about the 
upper berth she was to occupy that she made me ashamed. 
Made courageous by her example, I determined not to be a 
"softie" and when I finally clambered up to my berth, I 
found I was really most comfortable. Next morning I told 
the woman how much her good sportsmanship had helped 


me gain a fine night's rest. "/ did? I helped you!" she ex- 
claimed. "Why, I was so petrified with fear lest I tumble 
out, I never closed my eyes the entire night!" Thus did my 
heroine expose her feet of clay ! 

On the way to California, the lure of the Grand Canyon 
caused us to stop off there. As we drove 'round the rim, 
looking through spy-glasses, we were enraptured by the mag- 
nificence of the scene. How find words to describe the Grand 
Canyon ... so astounding, so majestic! Why even attempt 
to describe it? Speak, rather, of the wonder it engenders; of 
the awe it inspires! We who dwell within the confines of a 
city forget to measure our lives in relation to a tremendous 
universe. But the Grand Canyon is tacit reminder to us of 
Infinity, Eternity and the Creative Source of all ! 

Like San Francisco, San Diego was holding a fair in 1915; 
the Panama-California Exposition, celebrating the opening 
of the Panama Canal. The Spanish-type buildings, copies of 
the many old missions of California, were unique in atmos- 
phere which was further emphasized by the superlative land- 
scape gardening with its array of gorgeous blossoms. The 
Arboretum, with its quantities of trees, displayed varieties 
fascinating, indeed, to an Illinois inhabitant. 

The San Fransicso Exposition was admirable, also. The 
fine buildings and exhibits, the glorious horticultural display, 
the lights at nightfall reflected and doubled in beauty by the 
water surrounding it, brought the fair to a high plane of ex- 
cellence, making it worthy, in truth, to take its place with 
other great world expositions. The high-colored buildings — 
reds, blues, greens — set the keynote for the brilliance that 
dazzled one on every side. The Tower of Jewels, feature par 
excellence, gleaming so brightly in the sun, with its thousands 
of twinkling glass prisms set in motion by the movements of 


the air was, if possible, even more resplendent by night. The 
Court of the Universe, the main concourse, symbolized the 
union of the eastern and western hemispheres and its imagin- 
ative statuary and embellishments accentuated this noble con- 
ception. Were the East and West, then, really to meet and to 
clasp hands? Certainly, it did seem that the Panama Canal 
was to serve in hastening that end ! How serenely interested we 
were. Who guessed, then, how tragic a meeting was to come? 

The executive meeting of the Council was most gratifying 
and again I met many dear old friends and with them dis- 
cussed the opportunities and possibilities of our National or- 
ganization. We were all pleased to see an exhibit of our work 
in a booth in the Palace of Education, at the Fair, and dis- 
appointed to note that ours was the only Jewish women's 
group so represented. 

Following the executive board meeting, a party of four of 
us travelled to the north and we were delighted to find 
Council sections in so many cities on our way. We gloried in 
its accomplishments. 

We drove along the Columbia River Highway, one of the 
most beautiful routes I have ever seen, and very reminis- 
cent of Switzerland. And there we were, in the region where 
Lewis and Clark, pioneers of the far west, met Multnomah, 
the Indian girl who showed them the way to Oregon. Oh, 
the roses of Oregon ! In what profusion they bloomed ! And 
how wonderful were the famous apple orchards! Through 
Portland we went, and then on to the State of Washington; 
still further north, and into British Columbia; to Victoria, 
that charming English city with its noted homes and fragrant 
gardens; on to Vancouver which then showed evidences of 
the end of its building boom. As we continued east, on the 
Canadian Pacific, that king of railroad routes, each mile 


showed us new glories of mountain and lake, river and 
waterfalls ! 

We stopped at an inn, on our return journey, where we 
were mystified, for a few moments, by the signs of great ex- 
citement. The reason soon became clear, however. Italy had 
joined the Allies in the European war! Consequently, both 
the English and Itahan national songs were being sung, as 
intertwined flags waved wildly. We, who were pacifistic by 
inclination, could not rejoice; we felt only profound pity for 
both sides. Not until two years later did our own dear land 
become involved, so at the time we could do little but pray 
for peace between all nations upon whom war would bring 
an inevitable harvest of tragedy. 

In 1916 I was among those most intensely interested in the 
reelection of President Woodrow Wilson. Mrs. George Bass, 
my very good friend, and national chairman of the Woman's 
National Democratic Committee, was an extremely effective 
leader; certainly one of the most effective representatives that 
women of the Democratic party have ever had. I served as 
a member of the local committee for Wilson, and on the 
night of the election all ears were glued to our telephones. 
When a late bulletin reported "the outcome is in doubt", 
we decided to go to headquarters in the Congress Hotel. All 
of us feared Mr. Wilson had lost — all of us except Elizabeth 
Bass, who insisted to the end that the trick would be turned 
by California. History reveals her a true prophetess! 

The President's inauguration, in March of 1917, found me 
in Washington. On the morning of the thrilling occasion we 
arrived very early at the plaza in front of the Capitol, to 
secure seats enabling us to hear the President's impressive 
speech with ease. 

My especial interest in Mr. Wilson's candidacy had hinged 


upon his attitude toward peace, for I believed him to be the 
man who could avert the danger of our entering the Conti- 
nental conflagration. Consequently, I was both surprised and 
disturbed to find the inaugural procession completely military. 
Women, pining for suffrage and peace, were all arrayed in 
military capes and caps; cannon, soldiers and all implements 
of war were out in full force ! At luncheon I questioned my 
neighbor, an assistant secretary, next to whom I chanced to 
sit, about the significance of a military parade, since our elec- 
tion slogan had been, "He Kept Us Out of War!" The offi- 
cial said he was sure we would not fight; that he knew the 
President believed the United States need not participate in 
the war. We, who were among the most ardent in our insis- 
tence on arbitration, who believed that armed conflicts never 
settle controversies but create, rather, an urge for revenge on 
the part of the vanquished, did not realize, then, that war 
cannot be banished so long as there are still powerful bar- 
barians who force their hateful policies upon unwilling sub- 
jects; while there are those who have not the desire for peaceful 
settlement of diff"erences; while there breathe those who defy 
humane government! 

When we turned toward home, in 1917, I was filled with 
dread of what I feared would come. And so it did ... on 
April seventh . . . the portentous declaration of war! I had 
been one who dreamed of our being able to plan a better 
world ; one promising freedom from the tyranny of force, for- 
ever. But it was not yet to be, and so America, too, was 
destined to add her strength of arms, rather than of mind, at 
this grim point in the world's history. 

Women soon were called upon to participate in the gigantic 
effort necessary for the carrying on of war. In the Council of 
National Defense, a subsidiary division composed of the large 


national women's federations had already been formed, and 
of these the National Council of Jewish Women was one. In 
February, 1917, after the dismissal of German Ambassador 
von Bernsdorff by President WUson, a group of women came 
together, in Chicago, to consider the steps we might take, 
locally, to create avenues for woman's service. We sent a 
representative east to see what activities had been set in mo- 
tion, up to that time, and upon her return, a meeting was 
called, "for the purpose of considering the best methods of 
co-ordinating the work of women's organizations to meet con- 
ditions in this national crisis." Before the plans for Illinois 
were completed, Mrs. George Isham, who had been heading 
the preliminary setup, died. In May, after the woman's com- 
mittee of the Council of National Defense met in Washington, 
our state organization was perfected, with Mrs. Joseph T. 
Bowen as its chairman. 

My special assignment in the Chicago unit was as chairman 
of the City Ward Leaders Committee. I was appointed in 
1917, and we immediately began to make a survey in order 
to plan for work to be undertaken in each district. I had 
believed I was acquainted with Chicago, but when I traversed 
its many wards I realized how superficial my knowledge was, 
and I regretted that the real familiarity with situations in 
them was, after all, consigned to politicians to be utilized for 
their own purposes when election time drew near. 

All of our service was effected through wards and every 
ward was conditioned by varying factors such as type of popu- 
lation, locality and the other inevitable circumstances in a 
large city where nearly forty nationalities, each living in an 
area of its own, have congregated in larger numbers, in many 
instances, than in any but the capitols or largest cities of their 
mother countries. 


In some outlying districts, we found women who never 
heard a word of EngUsh and who took no part, whatever, in 
community Hfe, some of them scarcely ever passing beyond 
their own gates. We were able, nonetheless, to create an or- 
ganization for the persons who were unaccustomed, in any 
way, to efforts outside their homes, and brought to them in- 
formation on the essentials of child welfare and food conserva- 
tion, securing their cooperation for such patriotic measures as 
housewives must consider important in times of war. Women 
already proficient in dealing with large projects helped them 
survey their neighborhoods so that they might induce others 
to register for service. Often the job was most bewildering, 
but there was never any thought of faltering. Too much was 

at stake. 

We assisted, also, in the registration of aliens, ?ome of whom, 
although they had lived for years in this country, had never 
learned to speak the language. We gave aid to many concern- 
ing their boys overseas, and made investigations for draft 
boards and for men claiming exemption from the army, 
and were ready to respond to any emergencies that might 


I found ward organization useful, again, in 1925, when I 
took part in the Woman's Division of the united drive for 
Jewish relief work, and assisted in reaching women's groups, 
ward by ward. The effort proved highly successful. 

The result of our war contribution far surpassed our hopes 
and we felt we had established a new outpost for cooperation 
and goodwill. Up to the time of the Armistice the units aided 
in many ways. Until March 20, 1919, the major part of my 
time was devoted to this work, and not until July of 1919, 
was the final report published. 

November eleventh, 1918 ... the greatest day of rejoicing 


any of us had ever known ! Armistice Day ! All together, we 
participated in the wild enthusiasm marking war's end. 

There was victory for our side, to be sure, but permanent 
peace was not yet assured. Now, after many years of difficulty 
for the conquerors as well as for the conquered, we face, once 
more, the terrible spectacle of a world in the throes of mortal 
combat. We had laid the foundations for a lasting peace in 
the Kellog-Briand pact to which Chicago's Salmon O. Levin- 
son gave such devotion and assistance through his plan for 
the outlawry of war. He first read this, before publication, 
at an evening party given by my sister. Rose Eisendrath. 
These foundations the totalitarian states have cast aside! 
Again, peace will come and once more we shall have the 
opportunity of attempting to establish that golden era when 
"Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall 
they learn war any more." 

To say that one nation performs a God-given task better 
than another — or earlier — would be idle boasting, unless 
we see therein the message that when Divine purpose is re- 
vealed to a prophet and the right path presented to a nation, 
the reasonableness of it does appeal. And the steadfastness with 
which it is followed through century and age in spiritual ex- 
altation, despite bleeding hearts and tortured bodies, flashes 
across the path of a despairing humanity a bright ray of 
hope, thrills like a song of seraphim chanting the Divine con- 
solation that the universal conscience, struggling, climbing, 
is making for righteousness, and will be crowned with the 
truth which is harmony with the Eternal and which, prevail- 
ing, will "fill the world with its glory." 




(Psalms xxiii:4) 

EMiLE Levy, of Canton, Mississippi, became a dear son 
to us when, in 1911, he married our daughter, Helen. 
Many of the quaUties we loved in my husband were Emile's 
also. He, too, was most consistently considerate and respon- 
sive, and found his greatest happiness in serving and con- 
tributing to the joy of others. Emile had attained a position 
of note in his town and state which brought fullness of life 
both to him and to Helen. When, in 1912, their daughter, 
Frances Hannah, was born, bringing new delight to all of us, 
my husband told me, confidentially, that no baby ever had 
seemed to mean so much to him. Unfortunately, this rejoic- 
ing was his but for one brief month, for on January thirtieth, 
1913, Henry passed away. 

The impressive services held for Henry in Sinai Temple 
were attended by a large gathering, attesting to the esteem 
in which he was held by the community. His endless deeds 
of kindness were related by the many whom he had helped, 
and tears were shed for "the good man", even by the apple 
woman who had come, daily, to his office. His relatives, his 
associates and his friends felt that a true nobleman had joined 
the ranks of those who had passed into the great Unknown. 

After Henry's death, Jacob Abt spoke these words at the 
annual meeting of the Wholesale Clothiers' Association of 


Chicago: "Henry Solomon, loyal and untiring in coopera- 
tion, friendly and high-minded in competition, a lovable na- 
ture and gentle soul, has passed to his eternal home. I knew 
him first when I was a child. His almost womanly tenderness 
and devotion to his aged mother and widowed sister made a 
lasting impression on my mind. With the sweetness and 
beauty of his family life, with his ready response to communal 
obligations, with his deep interest in our Association's work, 
we are all familiar. To have known and to have worked with 
such a man is a rare privilege. The memory of his life and 
his character must ever be an inspiration for all of us; must 
ever keep us mindful of our obligations to each other and to 
our fellow men." 

How glad I was that before my husband's death we had 
published "A Sheaf of Leaves", because it afforded him such 
real pleasure. In 1911 I had collected some of the speeches, 
papers and articles I had written into a volume I entitled "A 
Sheaf of Leaves", and I had dedicated it to my children. In 
the foreward I stated the chief reason for printing the book, 
thus: "In these pages you will find your richest inheritance, 
the religious faith that has come to us through our ancestors 
and which I would have you keep strong and pure. In these 
days, when we are prone to discard the truths that do not 
admit of practical demonstration, we need to treasure the 
historic consciousness in our hearts which has been developed 
by generations of martyrs who were firm in their trust in a 
Higher Power. It is because of the religious note that I 
gather these papers for you." 

At the time Henry died, Frank was already a young man 
and had entered into business life at the side of his father. 
On the Saturday afternoon before he became ill, Henry had 
taken Frank on a pilgrimage to the west side where he had 


lived and worked in his youth, and pointed out landmarks 
of special interest. Earlier in the day, at his office, he had 
discussed matters of business and of personal import with his 
son. It was as if he had sensed a completeness in his own 
life and was ready, now, to see Frank enter the door which 
he, himself, was about to close. 

Years of restlessness for me followed after my husband's 
death. Wherever I was, I felt uprooted ! I shuttled back and 
forth between Chicago and Canton. At home, Frank was an 
unfailing source of comfort to his bereft uncle, Joe Solomon, 
and to me, but it was not until 1914, when Helen and Emile 
came from Canton to make their home with us, that the 
presence of the small granddaughter brought brightness, 
again, into our home. 

During the winter, for several seasons, we arranged a series 
of lectures in our home for Frank, his young cousins and 
friends of his generation. These afforded us many interesting 
times. University of Chicago professors, James Weber Linn, 
one year, and Ferdinand Schevill, another, were splendid and 
stimulating leaders, and the audience was responsive and en- 
thusiastic. How well I remember the shock with which Pro- 
fessor Schevill's prediction, that the great clash of interests 
on the European continent was bound to result in armed 
conflict, was received ! Much emphatic scepticism was voiced 
on this point, but Professor Schevill insisted he could see no 
possibility of averting the disaster. He spoke, much, of Russia; 
the great Russian Bear, which came from its lair for such 
combat as the Russian-Japanese war, had her fill of struggle, 
then lumbered back without pressing on to a decisive con- 
clusion. That was the Russia of 1915 — not of 1942! 

It was to one of these lectures at our home that Frank 
brought Helen Bloom, of Brooklyn, who was visiting with 


relatives, in Chicago. She was petite, dainty and most attrac- 
tive, as well as an intelligent young woman, and she and 
Frank soon became engaged, setting December eighth, 1915, 
as their wedding day. Their first child, Elizabeth Anne, was 
born in September, 1917, and now I had two lovely little 
grand-daughters in which to find delight! The Frank Solo- 
mons lived not far from us at that time, but soon decided to 
seek the advantages which the suburbs afforded both for them- 
selves and their baby. 

I wish that Elizabeth Anne, who soon became Betty to us, 
could have had some recollection of our Michigan Avenue 
home as an "ancestral background". Scene of so much joy, 
housing us through many years of experience and growth, 
we found it hard to leave. The appropriate moment had 
come, however, and so, in 1918, we sold it. The house would 
remain, of course, in our memories; the large rooms and the 
appointments typical of the eighteen-nineties; the huge mirror 
console in the living room, and the mirror-back bench in the 
hall, with hat-rack devices at either end. And the incidents 
of furnishing! The dining room walls were hung with the 
same pattern as that of the tapestry with which the chairs 
were upholstered; in the "parlor" was the curio cabinet — 
fortunately not ornate and golden — that has been able to 
hold its own through years of changing modes. It still con- 
tains objets d'art that I have collected on my five trips to 
foreign lands : ivories from Nuremberg, wee copies of statues 
of St. Peter, from Rome, a small reproduction of the Kama- 
kura Buddha from Japan and the Taj Mahal from India, a 
Javanese fan and many more! Today, a curio cabinet is a 
pleasant and tangible reminder of happy jaunts, but on Michi- 
gan Avenue it had been a fashion-decreed and necessary 


In the parlor, too, was a "Verni Martin" table, charmingly 
painted with French scenes. It finally went the way of other 
outmoded incidentals, when more rugged styles began to pre- 
vail, and Morris chairs and their companion pieces urged in- 
terest in things less exquisite. Not that the "parlor" became 
vastly changed, ever . . . nor the living room, for that matter. 
I do remember a day, however, when its mahogany table 
was daringly moved against the wall ! Until that time it was 
an unwritten law that every living room must contain a mas- 
sive table which must be placed directly under the elaborate 
chandelier, in the geometric center of the rug ! The fact that 
it was always in the way, mattered not a whit, and when 
ours was actually moved it was done in a spirit of pioneering! 

There was an evening, too, when some of my brothers and 
sisters dropped in to visit with us, and one of them suggested 
that perhaps a different arrangement of furnishings might be 
an improvement. I can still see my sister-in-law. Rose Greene- 
baum, sitting upright on the middle of the davenport, clutch- 
ing a marble bust of Apollo Belvedere in her arms for safe- 
keeping while the shifting of furniture went on! It was a 
lengthy and hectic performance, and in the end every solitary 
thing was returned to its original place with the exception of 
a single picture which had been moved, approximately, one 
inch. It was, I believe, the Alma Tadema etching, presented 
to me by the Council board and was the very first etching I 
had ever possessed. That was the era when it became impera- 
tive to appreciate and own etchings. Previously, we all had 
fine engravings and black-and-white reproductions of great 
works of art, with an occasional water-color or, perhaps, an 
oil — good, bad or indiff"erent. 

There hung, in our living room, a copy of a lovely portrait 
of Mrs. Frederick Freer, painted by her noted husband. The 


original had been exhibited and greatly admired at the 
World's Fair of 1893. Once, when Mrs. Freer attended a 
reception at our home, she stood, talking, beside the picture 
of herself, entirely unaware of its presence, to the great delight 
of those who saw her. Cora Freer, sister of Frederick, was 
also a distinguished artist. She had been one of my girlhood 
friends, and her portrait of our son, Herbert, has always been 
one of my most highly prized possessions. 

We had first moved to Michigan Avenue at the beginning 
of the electric-light-and-telephone-for-all era, in what was — 
we believed — a very modern day ! I do not remember, ex- 
plicitly, the clothing details of that time, but I do know we 
had passed beyond the slavery of the hu'ge balloon sleeve. 
The bell-shaped skirts that trailed on the ground were with 
us, still, however, and I could never forget the real diamond 
solitaire earrings we wore, or the ubiquitous sunburst pendents. 
Costume jewelry was foreshadowed by things known as "fads" 
like the sword pin in a scabbard, or the Trilby heart, for 
DuMaurier's book was of such moment that it had definite 
fashion repercussions. We wore hair ornaments, too, some of 
them jewelled, as well as hair bows, now, once more, in 
vogue. A chatelaine bag hung at the belt of our shirtwaist 
skirt, taking the place of the even more comfort-giving real 
pocket formerly sewn into an inside seam to keep it invisible, 
but handy. We all carried mesh bags of gold or silver and 
were even beginning to tell time by wrist-watches. 

It was on Michigan Avenue, too, that we saw the first 
automobile driven past our house at what we thought was 
such speed we would wait, patiently, on the curbstone for 
one to pass, even though it had just appeared on the horizon, 
blocks away, before we dared venture across the street. We 
called them "red devils", and felt not a little uncertain if, 


by chance, we rode in one. Before we left Michigan Avenue 
we saw the airplane, too, and became acquainted with the 
game of golf, for we had joined the Ravisloe Country Club. 
Oh, we felt very modern, indeed ! 

In the summer of 1918, Helen, Frances Hannah and I 
went to Denver, Glenwood and Colorado Springs. The com- 
panionship of the five-year-old added much to our pleasure, 
as may well be imagined. She was particularly intrigued by 
the mountains, and loved "God's Garden", as she called the 
Garden of the Gods. In Denver, she attended a meeting with 
us. It was her first experience of the kind, and she sat per- 
fectly still as I made my address. When the woman next to 
her asked if she liked her grandmother's speech, Frances 
Hannah replied, "Yes, but she talked very long!" How I 
hoped the members of my audience did not agree with her! 
If they did, their adult inhibitions kept them politely silent! 

I could not be in Denver and neglect visiting, again, the 
splendid National Jewish Hospital for Consumptives. We also 
enjoyed meeting the family of Seraphina Pisko, who was one 
of Colorado's outstanding Council women. Her work in the 
hospital for consumptives was recognized throughout the 

We returned from our trip to prepare to dismantle and 
move from our Michigan Avenue home. How difficult the 
decisions we now had to make ! How to determine which of 
our possessions should go with us, which be weeded out, was 
a task we approached with dread. It was comforting to know 
that none of our memories would be left behind ! Recollec- 
tions would go with us of all the family visits, the gay parties, 
my children's happy years carrying on into joyous days for 
my first grandchild. And the serious times, the loss of Herbert 
and my husband I These were deeply woven into our hearts, 


a rich and beloved motif in the pattern of our home. So, 
again, just as on Lake Avenue and on Morgan Street, we pre- 
pared to close the doors behind us, and proceeded on our 
way. We looked, for a last time, at the bushes and flower 
beds I had added, year by year; looked long at the catalpa 
tree to which Henry had been deeply attached because I had 
planted it in honor of one of his birthdays . . . and then . . . 
we left. 

The days in our next home, on Grand Boulevard, brought 
a swift procession of events, manv sorrowful. But, day by 
day, satisfaction came to us because we really lived "in a 
house by the side of the road." In the apartment above us 
dwelt Gerson and Elsa Levi and their family. Elsa was the 
daughter of Dr. Hirsch and Gerson was, himself, an honored 
rabbi. Dr. Hirsch was still living, and we enjoyed many de- 
lightful visits with him and his daughter and son-in-law. 
Members of our family, too, were close at hand. The Joe 
Eisendraths and the Mose and Ben Greenebaums were virtu- 
ally, neighbors, and many of my nieces and nephews, who 
had married, visited us frequently, with their children. The 
beautiful, charming and talented Beatrice Welles came to us, 
often, bringing with her the eight-year-old Orson — preco- 
cious and gifted, even then. We loved all these casual visits, 
whether prolonged or of the "pop call" variety, and each 
brought fresh interests and welcome diversion into our home. 

The terrific "flu" epidemic of 1918 did not spare our clan! 
Two of our promising young nephews, James Lesem, son of 
my sister, Theresa, and Gus Haas, Mary's son, were victims 
of the scourge. Both boys were married and each left a young 
wife and small son. 

The severe emotional strain of that trying year made me 
especially receptive to a plan concocted by my three intimate 


friends the following summer. It was proposed that "we 
girls"— Lizzie Barbe, Mrs. Rose Liebenstein, Mrs. Jennie 
Meyers and I — take a summer holiday together, visiting the 
National Parks in the West, and recapturing, for a time, the 
carefree spirit of our youth. 

It was a tonic, indeed, to visit the parks, and marvel at 
the wonders of Glacier, Yellowstone and Estes, and our return 
found me refreshed in body and mind. 

Arriving in Chicago on August twenty-sixth, I was over- 
joyed to find my first grandson, born just the day before, 
awaiting me! Much to my delight, he was given the name 
of Henry Solomon — a name I felt he would learn to carry 
with dignity and honor into a new generation. 

We had need those days for bright spots such as these to 
illumine our lives, for with the summer of 1920 came the 
shock of my beloved brother Henry's death, bringing inex- 
pressible grief to all of us. Esther, his wife, lived gallantly, 
until 1940, yet always, we knew, in the shadow of his memory.^ 
Together, in our thoughts, they constitute immortal perfec- 
tion, such as is seldom envisioned here, on earth. 

Nor was that heart-ache all we were called upon to bear. 
The following June we lost Louise Eisendrath Nathan, oldest 
daughter of my sister, Rose. We had just gone to summer in 
River Forest, Illinois, where we had rented a furnished house 
for a few months, closing up our own home and transplanting 
our menage, maids and all. The suburban house in River 
Forest belonged to the well-known musician, Glen Dillard 
Gunn, and we loved its artistic atmosphere and the fine pic- 
tures and autographed photographs of celebrities lining the 

It was a quiet, thoughtful summer for us. My niece, Louise, 
who had just given birth to her third child, became desper- 


ately ill, and died. She, too, was of our younger generation 
and we parted from her with heavy hearts, for in our large 
united family the sorrow of one was the sorrow of all. The 
music at the services, as we said farewell to our gay, colorful 
Louise, included the Brahms "Wiegenlied" which we always 
asked Louise's mother to sing for us when we gathered to- 
gether. Strange, that we had scarcely returned to River Forest 
after the funeral, when Frances Hannah begged us to play 
the Cradle Song for her on the Victrola. No one mentioned 
that we had just heard it, but it was as if its echo was still 
alive, assuring us that this lullaby would never fail to bring 
back to us the memory of Louise. Now it brings back, also, 
the memory of my sister. Rose, as she sang it to our rapt and 
listening family group. 

Yes, it was a saddened summer of quiet and meditation. 
Our poignant new sorrows served, perhaps, to sharpen our 
perceptions, causing us to take stock more consciously than 
was our wont, of the griefs and joys that color each one's 




(Genesis i:31) 

All my life I have loved to travel, and now, in my 
±\ latter years, I have indulged myself! One trip at a 
time is the usual procedure, but in transcribing reminiscent 
experiences, I find myself possessed of the (to me) intriguing 
details of four major trips, enough for four volumes. I'm 
strongly tempted to incorporate, here, my diary of descrip- 
tions written day by day, in the glow and enthusiasm of the 
moment. But I remember, too well, what always happened 
when friends welcomed me home, after my travels. They 
would say, eagerly, "Do tell us all about it!" And gladly I 
responded. But in less than five minutes I could sense the 
wandering of their minds and see a far-away look in their 
eyes, and at once curtailed my rhapsody so as not to tax 
their politeness too far. 

. Decidedly, the joy of travel is to the traveler ! No matter 
how eloquently others have dealt with famous or historic 
places, each one loves best his own reactions, and wants to 
verify picture postcards and guide-books, personally. So I 
shall compromise by mentioning only the unique elements in 
each adventure. 

The first came in 1921, when I conducted four delightful 
young women — my nieces Helen Kuh and Ruth Greene- 
baum, Ruth Stein (who later became my niece through her 


marriage to Richard Kuh) and Beatrice Levy, artist and 
friend — through Europe. We visited England, Scotland, 
France, Holland, Belgium, Italy, Sicily, Tunis and the Sudan, 
each country leaving an indelible impress of novelty and high- 
spots, to be priceless souvenirs for us all. 

As we approached England's shore at the end of our first 
voyage, I wrote, in 1921, "The rolling green, dotted with 
forts, the half-hidden batteries and war ships gave us a jolt! 
We were all so peaceful." We lingered in Ann Hathaway's 
"cottage" of fourteen rooms, and pictured Shakespeare dining 
at the wooden table, hollowed out with individual depres- 
sions for food; unpolished for the main course, then "turned 
over" to the "pudding side", all smooth and shiny. 

We realized how much of the thrill of sight-seeing was due 
to association as we reveled in the "human interest" element 
of the birth-places of celebrities and saw the relics that have 
have been kept to perpetuate their babyhood and youth. But 
we were just as engrossed with notable architecture and cul- 
tural treasures. We did not miss a single cathedral or art 
collection or theater or concert hall as we delighted in country 
after country, and evaluated with ever-increasing apprecia- 
tion how very much each had to contribute to the glory of 
the world. 

The girls were sympathetically indulgent toward my predi- 
lection for synagogues and Council possibilities, and they were 
often rewarded with interesting and amusing by-products of 
my indefatigable pursuits of all things Jewish. In Paris, for 
example, they saw Temple ushers in blue uniforms with red 
trimmings, silver chains and tricorne hats, the chief rabbi 
wearing a low derby hat with a wide brim, and they heard 
the familiar service read in French. And in Tunis, in the 
Ghetto, they watched the women filing in to services, decked 


in sugarloaf hats, with long draped pongee scarfs and very 
full skirts reaching to their golden anklets, speaking Hebrew 
and old Castilian — a language inherited from their martyr 
ancestors who escaped the Spanish Inquisition. 

We saw Jews of every color — yellow, brown, black, white; 
of every shade of belief and every degree of culture. Never 
again would any of us think of the Jews as a race or a nation. 

Yes, we shall always be able to play, at will, the wonderful 
memory records we gathered on our perfect trip. But some 
things, like the vision of caravans and palm trees silhouetted 
against a desert sunset sky, or the Sh'ma intoned by strange 
people in a strange tongue are knit into the very fiber of 
our being, and one is conscious of a profound and lasting 

Returning from Europe, I was overwhelmed with the re- 
newed evidence of my children's desire to spare me all un- 
necessary exertion and fatigue. For, lo ! during my absence, 
the Emile Levys had moved our household to Chicago's 
North Side, and there I was comfortably established without 
any of the inconvenience such a trek usually entails. Such a 
change of locality was essential, since it was our desire to 
give Frances Hannah the privilege of attending the Frances 
W. Parker School, where a number of the other children of 
our family had gone. The school was outstanding and offered 
the type of primary and secondary education we so heartily 
approved. In the minds of all Parker alumni and their parents, 
there is profound gratitude for close association with such a 
rare personality as that of the school's first principal. Flora J, 
Cooke. Her influence in the field of progressive education 
and upon the personal development of all "her children" is 
beyond one's power of acknowledgment. 

Now, then, we were to be among the "North Side Greene- 


baums", for the clan had divided into three sections: those 
on the South Side, those on the North Side and a large North 
Shore suburban contingent. In this last group were the Frank 
Solomons in whose household I spent a great deal of time. 
Frank and Helen had moved to Winnetka when Betty was a 
baby, because they sought the advantages which it afforded; 
homes in place of apartments, a certain freedom, a less hur- 
ried tempo, clean air and, of course, pleasant companionship. 
The larger family unit had begun there years before, and 
from that time on, our colony grew and grew for, as the young 
folks married, many of them joined the procession, northward, 
from the city. 

When we left the South Side, my brother-in-law, Joe 
Solomon who had lived with us so long, took up his residence 
at the North Shore Health Resort in Winnetka. He had 
been in failing health for several years, requiring constant 
care, and we were satisfied with his move since a number of 
his nieces and nephews had homes close by and, always at- 
tached to him, these children of his brother, Ernst, brought 
him cheer and comfort. Harry, the oldest, with the same de- 
votion that had characterized the three Solomons of the pre- 
ceding generation — Ernst, Joe and Henry — in their attitude 
toward one another, was like a son to his aging uncle, and 
we knew he would continue in his conscientious way. I had 
watched Harry's development through the years. Indeed, he 
claimed that he had received his start in life as a business 
man when, in his youth, he had delivered hymn books of the 
Congress of Jewish Women for us. 

At the North Shore Health Resort, in 1928, Joseph Solomon 
passed away, the last Solomon of his generation, for his sister, 
Fanny Peyser, who had lived with us, also, died in 1908. 

Residence on the North Side was most satisfying to us. We 


lived in the immediate vicinity of Lincoln Park and, for sev- 
eral years, we had the zoo and the conservatory virtually in 
our front yard. The park brought especial joy to Emile and, 
loved as he was by all children, he often wandered from 
flower bed to flower bed and from peacock to elephant, sur- 
rounded, always, by a group of admiring youngsters. 

For me, too, these were attractions, yet their lure was not 
enough to keep me at home! In the summer of 1922 I went 
to visit Rose, in Kennebunk. Our sister, Henriette, had passed 
away in March. Now her piano was closed, but the memory 
of her musicianship which meant so much to us would never 
be lost. The influence of her dignity and poise would continue 
to be with us, as would the quality of her fine intellect. 

Joe Eisendrath died in 1921, and now Rose was alone. We, 
who shared hsr hospitality in Kennebunk, were grateful for 
the calm and peace that filled those days we spent together 
in Maine. During our stay we visited the lovely spot where 
Mrs. Edward McDowell, wife of the renowned composer, had 
developed the Peterborough Colony in memory of her famous 
husband. In what was once a deserted farm, musicians, sculp- 
tors, writers, poets and painters enjov a solitude which enables 
them to devote themselves to their God-given talents. Here, 
artists dream and create ! We, too, were in pensive mood as 
we rode alon-^ the roads whrre leaves were turning to red 
and gold. We oassed New England farms and farm-houses 
with the Colonial doorways we loved, and visited Longfellow's 
home in Portland and Thomas Aldrich's, in Portsmouth, ex- 
ploring all the countryside as we rolled along. 

Returning to Chicago in Rose's auto, we drove north 
through New Hampshire via the White Mountains, up to 
Dixville Notch, where we lived for a few days in the woods; 
then crossed into Vermont and rode through the Green Moun- 


tains, stopping one night at the Beekman Arms, in Rhinebeck, 
said to be the oldest hotel in America. 

On our homeward way we arrived at Indianapolis rather 
late one evening and decided to remain until the next day in- 
stead of continuing to Chicago, as originally planned. Walking 
along a downtown thoroughfare we were aware of someone 
following us. Yes, even at our age, his intention to overtake us 
was evident ! What then, was our amazement and delight, at 
being addressed by the man and discovering that he was none 
other than my son, Frank, who just happened to be in Indian- 
apolis on business ! What a happy ending to a perfect sum- 
mer, the first of many I spent under Rose Eisendrath's roof! 

Many years before, my father said he wished he might 
possess a home so big that all of his children and grand- 
children could be gathered together in it. So, for the first 
New Year's Eve party after their marriage, Alfred and Rose 
Haas Alschuler made a huge blueprint of just such an imagi- 
nary estate in which each of us had a special niche, a domain 
appropriate to our individual talents or pursuits. Henriette's 
for example, was the music room; mine, the kitchen! This 
fanciful estate the Alschulers dubbed "Villa Garnix" (Gar 
nichts, German for "nothing at all"), a name sister Rose 
adopted for the house on the farm she bought, near Torring- 
ton, Connecticut. And a true gathering place of the clan, 
her Villa Garnix became ! From hither and yon we arrived, 
to spend a few hours or days en route to other destinations, 
or for prolonged visits with Rose and her children and grand- 

How cheering our experiences at Villa Garnix ! 

There was much music, of course; piano, voice and violin. 
And painting ! Rose engaged a teacher and each of us set up 
an easel and went to work. To me this was no new interest, 


for when I was young, the copying of certain standard pic- 
tures with pencil or crayon was a prescribed accomplishment 
for a lady. In fact, I had gone on to a second stage and the 
smell of oil paints could often be detected in our Morgan 
Street house — an activity to which lillies, on a shiny black 
placque, still bear silent testimony. But a parrot on a back- 
ground of pale blue satin was my chief pride, as it hung 
in elegance, functioning as a "splasher" over a washstand, to 
protect the wall from water spots. The Villa Garnix artists, 
however, were something quite different, and latent talent of 
impressive proportions was disclosed. 

The eminent lecturer, Earl Barnes, had a home near Rose's, 
and our association with him and his charming wife afforded 
us many pleasant hours. Often Mrs. Barnes read poems of 
New England to us. What a wealth of joy is added to living 
when one finds time for poetry ! There were other interesting 
neighbors whose association enriched those summer days ! The 
celebrated violinist, Ephrem Zimbalist, and his wife, the 
noted Alma Gluck, lived not far away. I have just finished 
the novel by Alma Gluck's daughter, "The Valley of Deci- 
sion," and my interest in Marcia Davenport's achievement is 
by no means lessened for thinking back to her lovely mother 
and the pleasure she brought to those beautiful Connecticut 

Rose's was the marvelous power of giving joy to old and 
young, alike, and her glowing spirit warmed every place in 
which she lived. Certainly it carried over into the lovely 
home she built, later, in Tempe, near Phoenix, Arizona. Here, 
in the winter, members of the family gathered just as they 
did at Villa Garnix, and we roamed the out-of-doors, revelling 
in the way Nature and man worked together, under God's 
sunshine, to create loveliness. There were daily walks and 


long rides to see the Arboretum, the Dam and other beauty 
spots and many were the jaunts our indefatigable hostess ar- 
ranged for us. How we loved the house, the patio in which 
we ate our noonday meal, the welcoming porches and the 
spacious living room ! Every corner spelled enchantment, and 
I am grateful that through Rose and her house in Tempe I 
came under the spell of the desert and the great open spaces 
underlined with sand. 

But the Wanderlust was again upon me! So successful 
was my first "personally conducted" European tour, that in 
1923 I ventured forth again, this time with Helen Bergman, 
daughter of my cousin, Lina (always counted one of the clan), 
and her friend, Celia Elbogen. My companions proved a de- 
sirable choice, for our journey consisted of a cruise around 
the world, and sympathy of taste is a necessary asset for con- 
sistent sight-seeing. In addition, both girls were unfailingly 
considerate and appreciative. 

We landed in Liverpool, and started most auspiciously, 
being just in time for the Shakespeare Festival, at Stratford, 
and a remarkable performance of "The Taming of the Shrew". 
To us, Holland will always mean flowers, grapes and Rem- 
brandt! Brussels, on the Day of Atonement, at a "Reform" 
Temple, more Orthodox than any in America ! Paris, for two 
weeks, with French lessons and everything one "does", in 
Paree; Lourdes — Biarritz — Burgos. Madrid ... a Bull Fight, 
tortoise shell combs and mantillas and the famous Del Prado 
full of old masters ! Toledo, home of El Greco, wondrously 
picturesque fortress city of rocks and bones of martyred Jews 
of the Inquisition; Cordova's Mosque and the home and 
synagogue of Maimonides. Seville, and the Alcazar. Tangiers, 
and a Mohammedan feast and our first ride on "mule back". 
Granada — and the first breath-taking view of the glorious 


Alhambra; lacy architecture and gardens and leafy balus- 
trades and trickling water and famous vistas — spirit of Wash- 
ington Irving! Then, Barcelona, and after the Land of 
Maiiana, back to France and the glory that is still Italy, 
with "The Last Supper" in our eyes and Toscanini's "Magic 
Flute" in our ears, and Mussolini's iron hand over everything! 

Cairo — and, at last, Jerusalem ! Zionist and non-Zionist 
unite in deepest tribute to the magnificent achievement in 
Palestine. Again, our visit there was timely, as my birthday 
was celebrated by a group of distinguished friends: Mr. and 
Mrs. Nathan Straus, Henrietta Szold, Sophie Berger, Mrs. 
Judah Magnes (wife of the head of the University), and Miss 
Day. Miss Szold introduced us to the wonders wrought in 
Palestine, and perhaps our most poignant memory of our 
World Tour was the revelation of the "Promised Land", 
present and future. Of course, we were prepared for great 
accomplishment, and found it, but there were unimaginable 
surprises, everywhere: Pagliacci, sung in Hebrew; a Jewish 
Woman's Club, advocating "equal rights for women"; the 
silk worm as a possible future industry; Jews still practising 
polygamy; Arab children married at eight and ten years of 
age and having children at fourteen; graduate Hadassah 
nurses and most progressive institutions of all kinds; acres of 
tobacco plants and citrus groves; the wonderful National 
School for Farm Training! 

Since my visit, I believe in a Zionist state less than ever, 
but I do hope all the persecuted may find sanctuary there, 
under adequate protection. And I admit that what the Zion- 
ists already have done is the greatest adventure of the century. 
To take a country, a wasteland, and make it bloom again in 
the hope of its becoming a resting place for hunted people, 
with the ideals of Jewish education and culture; to spread 


this ideal throughout the world, is an unmatched goal in 
human history ! Most of us are satisfied to let destiny guide, 
believing God holds the reins. Now, we know we must act, 
as well as pray. 

Egypt, again, and the Pyramids; Thebes and all the Biblical 
persons and places restored to life for us ! An almost uncanny 
verifying of the stories that seemed Sabbath School fiction, 
before. It wasn't always a serious quest, and as our guide 
pointed out the spot where Pharaoh's daughter may have 
discovered Moses, we gaily picked out a nice clump of bul- 
rushes as our choice; our guess was as good as his! 

Then the whole scene was enlivened by my sister. Rose, 
who joined us for the rest of the tour. Time and space were 
forgotten as we set forth, merrily, to encircle the globe. We 
saluted the Colossus of Rhodes and steamed through the Suez 
Canal and settled down comfortably on the S.S. Samaria, 
our home for several months. There were provided all the 
diversions of steamer life, but best of all we loved the ever- 
varying sunsets and moon- rise with resplendent night skies 
and clear evenings, bright as day. 

India, next! Bombay and the matchless Taj Mahal; Cey- 
lon; the Indian Ocean, all permeated with the spirit of Bud- 
dhism; Calcutta and Benares, and ghastly as well as beautiful 
sights to remember. Questionable travelling comforts, as when 
I found a huge lizard in my bath-tub! I gave him right of 
way, and went to bed to dream of Burning and Bathing Ghats 
and the teaming, streaming mass of humanity so crowded 
with beggars exploiting their hideous deformities; the living 
seemed more gruesome than the dead. Religious practices 
were both fascinating and disgusting! 

It was good to return to our ship and sort out our confused 
impressions. We crossed the Equator with traditional pranks; 


then, on to Sumatra and Java ! Indulgence in purchases of 
batiks and orchids; Singapore, Manila and meeting old 
friends; Shanghai and Peking; rare specimens of jade, lacquer 
and cloisonne; innumerable native dishes (but we preferred 
"American duck"); and a visit to the Calhouns, our Ambas- 
sador. Of course, we did justice to all the really wonderful 
sights of China, including theaters, palaces, show places of 
all kinds, and enjoyed acquaintance with new customs. Rose 
insisted on riding on the Chinese Wall in a riksha, though a 
murder had just been committed there. I reluctantly con- 
sented and lo! the only man we encountered was a resident 
of Chicago! We returned safely. On to Korea; then to 
Japan, charming in its apparently picture-postcard make- 
believe: dwarf trees, pagados, cherry blossoms; Yokohama 
and the snow-capped Fujiyama in the distance; Tokyo, en- 
livened by a native wedding in our beautiful modern hotel. 
The bride wore a blue kimono tied in with yards and yards 
of "obi", and her face was whitened with chalk. Then, back 
to our home on the Samaria. 

The last two weeks were filled with grateful reminiscence 
as we steamed toward Hawaii. Honolulu, like a dream, with 
its music and leis and brilliant flowers; sunny hours on the 
beach at Waikiki; graceful 'Hula" dancers; the strains of 
"Aloha" blending with the notes of "Auld Lang Syne" as 
our ship pulled anchor. A barge-ride to Kilaua and the Hilo 
volcano with its huge multi-colored pillars of smoke and 
deep fissures overgrown with grass and fern. 

As we turned toward our ship for the last time for a leisurely 
voyage to San Francisco, regret at the inevitable termination 
of an unforgettable chapter was happily tempered by the 
anticipation of a joyous return to home and family — the 
best of all endings to a complete and glorious adventure. 


In the summer of 1925, the Frank Solomons rented a 
charming house in La Jolla, CaHfornia, where I was with 
them much of the time, revelling in the loveliness that is so 
peculiarly California's own. Betty and Henry were in the 
delightful years of their childhood, yet old enough to be com- 
panionable, and it was, indeed, a satisfying interval. When 
we started home, Frank, Helen and Henry drove to San 
Francisco by automobile, and Betty travelled with me, on 
the train. With what an air of complacence did she settle 
herself at my side in the Pullman, saying in a tone of gratifying 
content, "My family will just have to get used to being with- 
out me, because I'm always going to go travelling with you !" 

When, several years later, I returned to the far west, I 
visited with Tress' son, Alex Lesem, and his wife. Myrtle. 
Alex, alone, of the Lesem children, remained in California, 
becoming a doctor, and the head of the San Diego Health 
Department. With them, I went to their cabin in the moun- 
tains. Snow had fallen and a log fire was kept blazing all 
night; so blazing, as a matter of fact, that the andirons actually 
melted ! I wore my fur coat over my night clothes and learned, 
first hand, what it is like to be a California eskimo. I loved 
it all, though, and proved to my own satisfaction that I still 
possessed the capacity for new thrills. 

And thrill is the only word for my reaction to my trip 
through the Panama Canal, when, in 1929, Rose Eisendrath 
and I went by boat from California to New York. The story 
of the Panama Canal is an astounding one, but fascinating, 
also, is the canal trip! A Mississippi friend of Emile's had 
charge of the locks at San Pedro Miguel and he afforded me 
the privilege of turning the key which opened the gates to 
admit water for the entrance of a ship. 

Helen and Frank had moved to Baltimore, in the meantime, 


and there, in 1928, Frank Solomon, Jr., was born! How we 
rejoiced in this new baby boy! And well we might, for he 
has brought us sheer happiness, ever since. Such a trio of 
children as we now had drew me to the South, ever and 
anon, and often Baltimore swung within the orbit of my 
travels. (If such an orbit wasn't always quite logical, I wasn't 
in the least averse to doctoring it up, a bit, now and again !) 

Later, Cleveland claimed the Frank Solomons and, after 
the marriage of Frances Hannah, in 1936, I added Charleston, 
West Virginia, to my port of call. 

Now, I don't think I'm an unreasonable or complaining 
woman, but, really, it does seem that for the constancy of 
my railroad patronage, a decoration of some kind should have 
been forthcoming from their companies ! Just once, however, 
did I merit recognition on a train, and that was en route to 
a meeting of the Denver, Colorado, Council section. I had 
been invited to stay at the home of a woman whose husband 
was one of the partners in the company providing the dining 
car service. A realization of my regal status was thrust upon 
me when I was served with eclat in the diner, and informed 
that I was the guest of the management! How I preened 
myself, as I won lered just how they discovered I was I! I 
should dislike to confess to the florists of our country that 
I felt every bit as elegant, then, over delicious oysters, as I 
do, ordinarily, when wearing a corsage of orchids. Never 
let the florists believe for a moment, however, that I haven't 
been duly appreciative of the exquisite corsages it has been 
my good fortune to wear from the east coast to the west ! Why, 
I often ask myself, should one be so rewarded for treading in 
paths that, in themselves, have always been pure joy? 

[ 204] 



(Job xxviii:20) 

THE FIRM THREAD of the National Council of Jewish 
Women runs unbroken through the fabric of my life. 
I devoted myself to its spinning while I was in active leader- 
ship and watched its progress with no less satisfaction as the 
presidents who followed after me seated themselves at the 

The women elected were all persons of distinction with 
large club and civic experience in their own communities, 
and had served brilliantly in both local Council sections and 
as members of the national board or committees. Their 
names and accomplishments are inextricably woven into 
Council history: Mrs. Hugo Rosenberg, Mrs. Caesar Misch, 
Mrs. Enoch Rauh — who was able to act only a short period 
— and Mrs. Nathaniel Harris; illness prevented Rose Brenner 
from completing her term, and she was succeeded ably by 
Mrs. William Dick Sporberg. Mrs. Joseph E. Friend, Mrs. 
Arthur Brin and Mrs. Maurice L. Goldman followed, in 
turn, and each brought sagacity and initiative to her task. 
Though vastly different in personality and technique, all 
were as one in their devotion to and understanding of their 
grave responsibilities. Each was impressed by the realization 
that we, as a band of workers pledged to "Faith and Hu- 
manity", must cherish the altruism that brings us strength 


to aid in the organization of the best social development, when 
moral and intellectual forces have conquered materialism 
and when wealth, knowledge and power are put to their 
legitimate uses for that development of the individual which 
best redounds to the advantage of society at large. 

Thus, the regimes of all of the presidents were marked by 
steady progress, both nationally and locally. 

In the life of the Council, its almost phenomenal develop- 
ment is landmarked by its successive Triennials. That there 
were issues which, at times, disturbed the accustomed har- 
mony was not surprising. The Triennials were forums for 
the discussion of points that were debatable and problems 
that demanded solution. Only once, however, did matters 
reach so intense a point that drastic action was imperative 
if the principles and purposes of the organization were to be 

Little did we know, as we prepared so busily for the fourth 
Triennial in Chicago, in 1905, that the question of a raise 
in dues from one to two dollars was destined to become a 
burning issue threatening to ignite and consume sections 
near and far! The conflagration started so mildly — with 
a number of the sections feeling that such a raise would work 
hardship upon many of their members, causing them to re- 
sign. A majority, however, favored the idea and the change 
in dues was effected. The Cleveland section struck the initial 
spark, for it had already increased its dues even beyond the 
two-dollar figure, in order to carry on its own local philan- 
thropic enterprises, and was unwilling to conform to the sum 
established in the national by-laws. Therefore, between the 
time of the Chicago convention and the fifth Triennial, held 
in Cincinnati, the affiliation between Cleveland and National 
was severed. This unprecedented situation was, naturally, 


a focal point at the Cincinnati conference, and the "Cleveland 
incident", as it was termed in the President's report, came 
in for a lion's share of concern and discussion. 

The Cincinnati Triennial was the first held after I left the 
presidency. I had presented a paper on "Industrial Educa- 
tion", but this seemed of exceedingly minor importance when 
I found myself the chairman of the arbitration committee 
appointed to attempt a solution of the heated topic of the 
moment — the "Cleveland incident." Cleveland, feeling it 
had been dealt with in a summary and arbitrary fashion, 
refused to rejoin the National despite all pleas and, in truth, 
the National had displayed certain headstrong attitudes so 
obviously that the Chicago section had been among the first 
to make protests, all of which had been disregarded. 

During the Triennial period following the Cincinnati con- 
vention, dissatisfaction on the part of some of the other local 
sections was expressed in no uncertain terms, and before the 
Philadelphia meeting, in 1911, the Baltimore section came 
forward with a scathing letter, sent to all local sections, pro- 
testing vigorously against what it termed, "arbitrary and 
extravagant administration." Toledo withdrew from the 
National before the Philadelphia convention where the Balti- 
more letter became a paramount issue, and during the period 
immediately following that meeting seven other sections also 
seceded: Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Savannah, 
Washington and Youngstown, and none of these was repre- 
sented in 1914, at the Triennial in New Orleans. 

We, in Chicago, were fortunate in having for our president, 
Mrs. Israel Cowen, who proved herself to be a wise and tact- 
ful leader during a most difficult and trying time. Our Chi- 
cago organization, during the period of its disassociation with 
the National, called itself the "Chicago Association of Jewish 


Women". We had seceded merely as a protest, and pledged 
ourselves to return to the Council at such time as the national 
organization would again function democratically. We re- 
joined in 1915 and by 1917 all of the sections were reunited 
with the exception of Cleveland, which rejoined our ranks 

To me, this entire incident has always been most regret- 
table. But, as I look back, I am cheered by the realization 
that, despite differences, we had always identical objectives. 
Like our fingers, each section is capable of functioning in- 
dividually, but we need the National — the whole hand — 
to do the happiest and most efficient work for "Faith and 

The twenty-fifth anniversary of the Council was celebrated 
in Chicago, in 1917, and our local section gladly made ready 
to receive, once more, those women from far and near who 
were the Council's "stay and staff". Mrs. Felix Levy, a 
woman of unusual ability and with a rare gift of oratory, 
was president of the Chicago section; Mrs. Nathaniel Harris, 
efficient, genial and beloved, was our national leader, and 
as chairman of the local committee on arrangements, it was 
with deep personal pleasure that I carried on my share of 
the proceedings. Headquarters were the Congress Hotel, and 
here our daytime meetings took place. For our evening pro- 
grams Chicago's large Temples were our hosts. 

The first formal session was a "President's Evening" and 
the three past presidents, Mrs. Rosenberg, Mrs. Misch and 
I, presented a panel on "The Development of Jewish Women 
During the Past Twenty-Five Years." For that occasion we 
met in Sinai Temple. Dr. Hirsch gave the opening address 
and many of his words, referring as they did to the first World 
War, were strangely prophetic of the scene today: "Out of 


this cataclysm, terrible beyond all expression, will be born a 
new world where justice will be enthroned. That word 
'justice' is a summary of all that the Jew suffered for, of 
all that Judaism has taught. . , . Go, ye Jewish women, into 
your cities, into your counties, into your states; go with the 
nation and let the whole world learn through you and from 
you that the highest glory of a nation is to be exalted in and 
through justice." 

As I travelled, from time to time, in the interest of the 
Council, I found outstanding rabbis everywhere, who repre- 
sented the Jew magnificently in their communities. But none 
ever surpassed — if, indeed, they reached — the pinnacle 
scaled by Emil G. Hirsch. Chicago sustained an irreparable 
loss, in 1923, in the death of this great leader, stern martinet, 
cherished friend. At memorial services held in tribute to 
him, the honor of representing the women's organizations 
was granted to me. The women's associations owed much to 
Dr. Hirsch and his influence was direct and vital to them. 
As I spoke of him on that twenty-third of February, many 
were the memories that crowded my mind, of aid given me in 
various undertakings, and of advice and guidance in my 
religious studies. How well Dr. Hirsch knew that, to be of 
service, the synagogue must be an active social force, giving 
its thought and placing its members in the stream of living, 
moving force and fire which is working in our civilization 
for a better, juster, higher economic and moral standard of 

When we wonder how much a single individual counts 
among myriad human beings, history reminds us how often 
the thought and the work of just one man has revolutionized 
the whole trend of philosophy or of science. Without doubt, 
Dr. Hirsch contributed, to a marked degree, in raising the 


standards of our whole generation. Liberal Judaism was 
inspired by his leadership and became the greater and more 
lasting power because of him. 

One of the most heart-warming tributes of my life came 
at the 1917 Chicago Triennial, with the establishment of 
the Hannah G. Solomon Scholarship Fund. The convention 
left to my choice the field in which this annual award was to 
be granted, as well as the first recipient. My decision to 
ask that it be turned into the channels of social service was 
reached, partly because of the crying need for trained social 
workers and, partly, because this was a sphere open to women 
and one in which they function so tellingly. In 1924, the 
Council's Juniors took over this project and they have main- 
tained it, superbly, ever since. Today we may count many 
fine additions to the ranks of professional workers as a result 
of this scholarship fund. 

It was at this Triennial, too, that a resolution was presented 
by Mrs. Alexander Kohut, for the New York section, con- 
cerning the raising of a fund in honor of the Council's twenty- 
fifth anniversary. This fund was to further a plan for aid in 
after-the-war reconstruction. Representatives of the Com- 
mittee on Reconstruction, which was appointed in conse- 
quence, were sent to make an exhaustive study of the condition 
of the Jewish woman in Europe, and "to look into the general 
immigration situation in the various countries, particularly 
in the port cities." Recommendations for future effort were 
to be based on this study. 

At Denver, in 1920, and in St. Louis in 1923, the accom- 
plishments of the Committee on Reconstruction were set 
forth, in detail, and constituted highspots at both Triennials. 

In every respect, the Denver convention reached the ex- 
emplary standard of other Triennials. The program was 


excellent, with one of the principal addresses delivered by 
the Honorable Ben. B. Lindsey, Judge of Denver's Juvenile 
Court. Council women spoke in the various Temples on the 
convention Friday evening, as did Mrs. Taylor Phillips, of 
New York, and I, at Dr. Kauvar's Synagogue. 

The St. Louis Triennial was extraordinary, also. Rose 
Brenner, the Council president, was ill and unable to be 
present, but my good friend, Mrs. Israel Cowen of Chicago, 
who was national first vice-president, made a splendid pre- 
siding officer. I was on a cruise around the world at the 
time, and so was obliged to miss the Council's celebration 
of its thirtieth anniversary, but Lizzie Barbe read the message 
I sent from abroad. The Triennial program included an 
address on "War or Peace" by Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt, 
one on "Women in the Courts" by Judge Florence E. Allen, 
and one on "The World Today: Woman's Opportunity" by 
the Honorable Mrs. Ernest L. Franklin of London, England. 
Three remarkable women, indicative of the long road the 
"weaker sex" had travelled since those days of our 1893 
congresses when men considered programs their exclusive 
prerogative ! 

The statement to the convention by the Committee on 
Reconstruction was most impressive though, unfortunately, 
Mrs. Kohut, the chairman, was unable to deliver it in person. 
The Reconstruction Unit went to Holland in April, 1921, 
following the survey on the condition of the Jewish woman in 
Europe which we had agreed upon in 1917. It functioned, prin- 
cipally, in Amsterdam, the Hague and Antwerp. "Through 
the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp especially, there poured 
thousands of Jews, waiting their chance to embark for Amer- 
ica", the report read. "The tremendous problems of immedi- 
ate social and legal service which this floating transmigrant 


population presented were worked out by the Reconstruction 
Unit in conjunction with the women of Holland and Antwerp, 
affording infinite opportunity to put into practice American 
methods of social service. Councils of Jewish Women were 
organized in Rotterdam, the Hague, Amsterdam and Ant- 
werp. When these Councils, by the aid of our instruction, 
advice, organization and re-organization, were well able to 
take care of their own problems, the Unit left. . . . But there 
was another call for us. The floating Jewish refugee problem 
grew worse; famine and disease were raging in Russia and 
those who could, escaped, arriving at ports and frontier cities 
in indescribably pitiable condition. European organizations 
who had watched our work in Holland and Belgium, asked 
for a return of our workers." 

Accordingly, a second Unit was sent to Europe in March, 
1922, It was composed of two women, one of whom was 
paid by the Joint Distribution Committee, the other by us. 
They established headquarters in Riga, Latvia, on the Baltic 
Sea, because this was the nearest neutral city which had both 
an American Consul and banking facilities. Hundreds of 
absolutely destitute Jewish refugees herded together, here, 
and the situation must have been unspeakable. The Unit 
worked for about eight months, effecting an organized method 
of handling the problems and establishing a Latvian Section 
of the Council of Jewish Women to take over and carry on. 

At the conclusion of this part of our program, we decided 
to undertake a second major project: the calling of a world 
convention of Jewish women. Accordingly, Mrs. Kohut made 
"a tour of the continent gathering together and selecting 
from the various organizations and individuals, a group of 
women who came to Vienna in May, 1923, and constituted 
a Congress of Jewish Women which not only realized and 


fulfilled our highest ambitions and hopes, but crowned our 
work in Europe with such brilliant success that the Congress 
will not be forgotten for many years." 

Mrs. Kohut was elected president of the Congress, and 
serving on the executive committee were, "that fine pioneer 
in Jewish social service in Germany, the noble Bertha Pop- 
penheim, a woman who had devoted her life and fortune to 
her work; at her side the fine-spirited and noble-hearted 
daughter of the former grand Rabbi of France, Mme. Zodac 
Kahn; beside her, Mrs. Spielman and Mrs. Eichulz, repre- 
sentatives of the best of English-Jewish womanhood; Anitta 
Muller-Cohen, the brilliant young Austrian Jewess, a dynamo 
of energy in child welfare all over the continent, and Mme. 
Rosa Melzer Pomeranz, who has the distinction of being the 
only Jewess in the Polish Parliament." Representing the 
United States, with Mrs. Kohut, were Mrs. Nathaniel Harris, 
Estelle Sternberger who was executive of the Council, and 
Mrs. Sachs-Barr, the leader of our Reconstruction Unit. 

The last of the many splendid resolutions passed by the 
Congress in Vienna, suggested that a permanent World Union 
of Jewish Women be formed, for now had been born a real- 
ization of the possibility of mutual helpfulness and a great 
desire to coordinate work. So, finally, a World Union of 
Jewish Women was to be planned! That the women of 
Europe have been prevented from achieving this unity is 
cause for disheartenment, surely, but not surprise 1 Perhaps, 
after World War II, we will see it consummated? 

Washington, D.C., was the locale of the 1926 Triennial, 
and I was happy to find myself in the United States at the 
time, and again convention-minded. It was a brilliant gather- 
ing of brilliant women, representing a membership of fifty- 
three thousand, and there was, in addition, the aura of 


glamour with which a meeting in our national capitol is 
always surrounded. 

A visit to the White House was a privilege extended to us; 
a formality that never fails to make each of us glow with 
pride as we sense our stake in our great Democracy. We 
were graciously received by President Coolidge, and one 
could not but feel that such a reception, with its endless hand- 
shaking, was too great an ordeal for our heavily burdened 
Chief Executive. 

One day the convention delegates made a pilgrimage to 
Mt. Vernon, and I was humble as I was accorded the honor 
of placing a wreath upon the grave of George Washington. 
Reverently our Council women stood, while the iron gates 
of the vault were opened. I was admitted alone, and as I 
placed the symbol of our deep respect upon the tomb of the 
Father of our Country, saying a few solemn words, I was 
more deeply stirred than ever before. We were all filled with 
inexpressible gratitude to the Creator for the life of that first 
President who bestowed upon our country the priceless gifts 
of his greatness. 

Mrs. William Dick Sporberg was Council President during 
the Washington convention, and her gracious presence and 
ability added much to the Triennial's distinction. As the 
convention ended, her gavel was placed in the capable hands 
of Mrs. Joseph E. Friend. 

At the closing session, it was suggested that we sing "Auld 
Lang Syne" before disbanding. Immediately, a need for 
an accompanist arose. Dead silence greeted the request. 
Finally, since no help was forthcoming, I stepped over to 
the piano. Such applause as I have seldom been accorded, 
greeted me when I said, reproachfully, "At the least, there 
is probably one million dollars worth of music lessons 


represented in this assembly, and I am the only one to 

Returning to Chicago from Washington, we stopped oflf 
to see the Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition. Philadelphia was 
not particularly happy about its fair, for it did not reach 
the anticipated heights and, at many points, it maintained 
an unfinished look, to the end. "High Street", a replica of 
colonial dwellings, was delightful and perfect, however, and 
a collection of Rodin sculptures made the art gallery worth- 
while, in spite of the fact that the building seemed a mere 
hollow shell. No place housing works of art should seem 
flimsy in construction, for there is something disturbingly in- 
congruous about the ephemeral background contrasted with 
the enduring quality of art. Philadelphia, on the other hand, 
possesses one of the most perfect settings that I know. To 
Sam Fleisher, who developed the Graphic Sketch Club, 
great appreciation is due. A museum connects the school 
building with the "Sanctuary", which was originally one of 
the old Philadelphia churches. When Mr. Fleisher purchased 
it, long after it had fallen into disuse as a place of worship, 
it had become a warehouse, of sorts. Cleaning disclosed 
enchanting murals and fine stained glass windows through 
which filters a "dim, religious light". The Sanctuary — 
where occasionally one hears heavenly organ music — is a 
retreat for meditation, and Mr. Fleisher has told me that, 
open though it is, to all who wish to enter, none of the trea- 
sures it now houses have ever been stolen or disturbed. Man, 
it seems to me, is in essence reverent and possessed of innate 

As I returned home from this Triennial trip, I reflected 
that it was not alone in women's sphere that fundamental 
changes were occurring. Through the miraculous inventions 


and discoveries of this century, countries were being drawn 
closer and closer, physically. Could this be made true, also, 
in political and economic life? 

It was in this questioning mood that I started on my next 
journey, when, in 1927, I redeemed my pledge to take Frances 
Hannah to Europe. 

When we sailed on the French liner, S.S.Paris, our con- 
genial companions were my sister Helen and her husband, 
Henry Kuh, and with them we travelled from Paris to Avig- 
non. The beauties of the Riviera, Monte Carlo and Mentone 
all measured up to — and even surpassed — our imaginings. 
Italy, too, held us in its indescribable and unfailing spell, 
as we revisited my favorite haunts. 

In Germany, Frances Hannah and I left the Kuhs, to go 
to Prague, where the historic relics played second fiddle to 
our interest in the "Old-New Church" in the Ghetto. This 
underground synagogue, with its thousand-year-old founda- 
tions, its iron ark, its Hebrew-lettered clock tower with num- 
erals reading from right to left, moved us deeply as, once 
again, we recognized how changeless are the bases of our 
faith. Impressive, indeed, was the old Royal Palace in its 
new conversion into residence for President Masaryk. Tea- 
dancing was, evidently, a daily custom in Prague, and I 
enjoyed tea-ing while Frances danced. 

Then, off to Carlsbad and Nuremburg and reunion with 
Helen and Henry. Once more, in Paris, we began a daily 
round of French lessons, music and visits with old friends 
and new, continuing after the Kuhs departed for England. 
Suddenly, one day, we decided to leave our delightful old 
Pension Jules Janin, in Passy, and combine a surprise fare- 
well to the Kuhs, in London, with attendance at conferences 


of the Union of Jewish Women and the Society for the Pro- 
tection of Women and Girls, about to convene in England. 

While Frances saw the sights, I enjoyed the conference, 
meeting again, with great pleasure, friends of twenty-five 
years before. The meetings were highlighted by a series of 
remarkably fine speeches and delightful social functions: 
dinners, receptions, garden parties. 

It was like going home to return to our Parisian pension, 
and exciting, indeed, were the following weeks in France, 
when Lindberg arrived on his epoch-making transatlantic 
flight, and when Chamberlain and Levine attended the light 
ceremony under the Arc de Triomphe, on July Fourth. 

My brother Mose and his wife spent ten halcyon days with 
us which included trips to Barbizon and Fontainbleau, "night- 
hfe" at the Moulin Rouge, much lovely music and everything 
"Paris" means to every traveller. When we bid adieu to 
France, a tremendous experience lay before us. Italy, and 
then — Greece and Turkey ! 

Oh, the wonders of Athen's ancient glory ! The mellowed 
marble of the Parthenon bathed in silvery moonlight; the 
Acropolis (city on the heights) at midnight; the old Attica 
where once roamed Plato, Aristotle, Socrates. The National 
Museum with its countless treasures; the glorious Bay of 
Salamis, the Marathon mound, Apollo's Temple now but 
suggested by ruins outlined against the sunlit water. 

Sailing on the scarce-rippling Aegean Sea from Piraeus, 
through the Dardanelles, into the Bosphorus; and then, 
though we never quite believed it could happen, Constan- 
tinople ! 

No fez, no veil to greet us in Turkey, for Moustapha Kemal 
Pasha had just decreed the westernizing of the country, and 


even the English alphabet would henceforth replace Arabic 

Constantinople and its Mosques! Constantinople and 
thick, sweet Turkish coffee; amber beads, perfume and 
Oriental rugs; three hundred and thirty-five streets of bazaars 
where once the Sultan housed only his horses! Aroma of 
water pipes which the Turk prefers to cigarettes; the Imperial 
Museum with antiques dating back to 3500 B.C.E. The 
marvelous sarcophagi, dug up in Asia Minor — one of them 
said to have held Alexander the Great — to me, the most 
beautiful objects in all the world. 

The Sultan's Palace with glittering throne room and fra- 
grant garden; blazing jewels and rare aigrettes. Galata, Pera, 
Stamboul; endless streams of human beings; the Koran and 
covered heads. 

We could have lingered on indefinitely, but we had already 
been ten months abroad. As we sped, in our de luxe train, 
toward Paris, on our homeward lap, I felt poised between 
two worlds, and as we tore through space I pondered . . . 
about "change" . . . about "progress" . . . and I knew the 
two were not, necessarily, synonymous. 




'Until He Cuts the Thread" 



(Psalms xc:10) 

WHILE WE WERE IN EuROPE, our houschold had been 
moved, once again; this time to a larger apartment 
on Lincoln Park West. The reason? Well, the family said, 
it was to provide a comfortably adequate home for a very 
special occasion. And, sure enough, there it was! Looming 
over the horizon, for me, was the large round number, 
seventy! Had I but known, this January 1928 birthday, the 
seventieth, ushered in the first of a succession of elaborate 
celebrations, each more wonderful than the last; all of which 
I managed to survive with equanimity. That I have done so 
has been due, in part, to an objective viewing of them; but 
even more to the realization that I seem to have become, 
perhaps, a kind of symbol as founder of the National Council 
of Jewish Women, and am, thus, but the tangible recipient 
of tribute vouchsafed the organization. Never think, though, 
that the objectivity of which I speak has in any way lessened 
my complete joy in the warmth and spirit each occasion has 
engendered as it comes along ! 

Oh, those amazing seventieth birthday parties! When I 
state that the piece de resistance of the Council's birthday 
play, "A Biography", was a most impressive cake so large it 
was hard to believe it actually was meant to eat, I am in no 
way minimizing the histrionic ability of the rest of the cast. 


The skit was utterly delightful, for it was at this point that 
my sister-in-law Hattie, wife of Ben — so whimsical in mind 
and so clever with pen — entered upon a career of playwrit- 
ing and producing in my honor that should certainly place 
her in the professional category! 

"A Biography" was presented in a number of scenes, in 
which many members of my family took part. Some of our 
younger generation were the children in the first act, faith- 
fully portraying a nostalgic scene in our Adams Street home 
when Greenebaum sisters and brothers were small. The family 
has often since teased me for practicing on them my penchant 
for organization, at a lime when they were too young to re- 
sist, for the episode enacted carried us back to the day when 
. I formed my sisters and brothers into a "club" of which, in 
some unexplained manner, Hannah was always the president. 
I had one staunch disciple, however, in my baby sister. Rose, 
whose sole but continuous contribution consisted of one re- 
peated question, "Ain't we gonna have a constitution?" In the 
second act, I was taking a piano lesson from Carl Wolfsohn, 
with one of my nieces portraying my mother and Frances 
Hannah as I, playing a Haydn Rondo. There followed, next, 
the founding of the Council; then, the Berlin International 
Council convention, and in both, my daughter, Helen, repre- 
sented Hannah G. Solomon. One scene was called "The Life 
of Hannah", in which Lizzie Barbe spoke, and during the 
last, entitled, "Hannah, Herself", I was given the opportunity 
of stepping into the picture to express, in person, my appreci- 
ation. At that moment I felt as did Browning's Rabbi Ben 
Ezra when he said, "The best is yet to be. The last of life 
for which the first was made." Now, however, after the pass- 
ing of additional years, I know that seventy is really much 
too young to philosophize about old age ! 


On January fourteenth, a large dinner in our own home 
was attended by my brothers and sisters and nieces and 
nephews, and all the next day, in a veritable rose garden, I 
rested in order to be equal to the occasion of that evening, 
when Chicago Sinai Congregation and Temple Sisterhood 
celebrated my birthday at the Standard Club. 

After Dr. Hirsch's death, in 1923, Sinai Temple was obliged 
to seek a new rabbi. It found, in Dr. Louis L. Mann, a 
leader of distinction, an able speaker, a splendid executive 
and so genial a personality that immediately he won the af- 
fection of the congregation. He had been Sinai's rabbi for 
about five years at the time of my seventieth birthday and his 
friendly spirit and personal interest were evident in the beauti- 
ful atmosphere of the celebration that had been arranged. 

Again there was a play, "An Evening in Michael Greene- 
baum's Home, 1878." Again, my niece portrayed my mother, 
and Frances Hannah was I. My relatives had a way of liking 
to participate in the skits and I, for my part, was correspond- 
ingly pleased, and glad that persistence in family theatricals 
had given them poise and histrionic proficiency. My cousin, 
Moses E. Greenebaum, son of Elias, was then president of 
Sinai Congregation. We had grown up together, and it was 
good to see the place he had attained in our city as he pro- 
ceeded in his earnest and helpful career. 

The Sinai Temple Sisterhood, of which Louise Loeb Ham- 
burgher was president, gave me a most wonderful birthday 
present that year, by establishing the Hannah G. Solomon 
Peace Fund ! No recognition I have ever received has been 
more sincerely appreciated, and no occasion brings me greater 
joy than my annual visit to Sinai Temple Sabbath School, 
on the Sunday nearest Armistice Day, when I am privileged 
to address the children and personally present the Hannah G. 


Solomon Peace prizes, awarded each year to those who have 
written outstanding essays on Peace. 

I seem, indeed, to have come to the "honorary" and 
"award" period of my hfe. The Sigma Deka Tau, a college 
sorority for Jewish students, presented me with a beautiful 
plaque at the Council Triennial in Pittsburth, in 1938, select- 
ing me as the recipient of their first award to a Jewish woman. 
That they felt I was worthy of this honor pleased me, of 
course, but in my heart the feeling has grown through the 
years, that I was but the humble instrument of accomplish- 
ment rather than its embodiment. How, then, could one 
respond adequately to such an occasion? Only by voicing 
the belief that devotion to great principles, energetic pursuit 
of means to achieve purposes which will benefit others, lead 
some of us into one path, some to another. That Judaism, 
in its development in prosperity and in adversity, has planted 
some of the strong foundation stones upon which rest the 
ethics and morality of the world. We will, perhaps, add our 
share of glory to our religion. And, in time to come, let us 
hope they will say, "They builded better than they knew." 

There is a divided opinion as to the desirability of college 
fraternities and sororities, many people feeling that they run 
counter to the democratic spirit. Some argue that the organi- 
zation of Jewish groups is unfortunate in that it emphasizes 
divergences which therefore become more pronounced. The 
Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority with which I am best acquainted, 
because I was made an honorary member in 1931, gladdens 
my heart with its groups of intelligent, educated, thoughtful 
young women I have met at chapter gatherings in various 
cities; I rejoice at the promise held for a future in which 
they — and others like them throughout the country — be- 
come participants in the activities of their own communities. 


A sorority may bring opportunities for service and for the 
development of loyalties that are of abiding value, but if they 
serve merely to promote exclusiveness, the results are wrong 
and the bases unsound. The college sororities and fraternities 
in which I am personally interested have rendered praise- 
worthy aid to many educational and philanthropic causes. 

That the University of Chicago should strike in me a par- 
ticularly responsive chord is not surprising, remembering as 
I do its early years on the Midway, when I was privileged to 
know it so well. It is a magnificent institution, and I have 
always delighted to realize that when John D. Rockefeller's 
interest was enlisted, and he agreed to contribute a very large 
sum of money to the University if certain conditions were met, 
our Jewish group was among those accepting the challenge. 
A mass meeting was held at the Standard Club in 1890, and 
a letter from J. W. Goodspeed, secretary of the University, 
emphasizes a point probably unknown to many today: 

"Gentlemen: I am reminded that a year ago, when we 
were in the utmost danger of failing in our efforts to secure 
the establishment of the University of Chicago, your Club 
came to our relief. The subscriptions your committee handed 
me aggregated S28,350, and enabled me to meet the con- 
ditions imposed upon us and thus secured the establishment 
of the University. It has been felt by the denominations that 
inaugurated the movement and by the Board of Trustees of 
the University that the action of the Standard Club was one 
of notable public spirit and liberality." 

I have watched the University grow until now its quad- 
rangles have little space for more structures. Some of the 
beautiful buildings were presented by our friends, Mandels, 
Epsteins, Rosenwalds; and I always delight in the exquisite 
Hilton Chapel, gift of the Henry Hoyt Hiltons. 


When the handsome Rockefeller Chapel was opened, in 
1929, I was, regrettably, out of the city. Of the events sched- 
uled in connection with its dedication, none would have inter- 
ested me more deeply than the service in Recognition of the 
Leadership of Women. With the imposing new edifice filled 
to capacity, women who had achieved a certain status for 
accomplishment marched, in impressive processional, down 
the aisle, each gowned in a University robe. There were 
many with whom I have worked throughout the years, as well 
as a younger group, among them my niece, Rose Alschuler, 
so honored for her outstanding pioneering in the realm of 
the nursery school, and my daughter, Helen. The services 
were read by four women: the president of Milwaukee Downer 
College, our Chicago sculptress, Nellie Walker, Miss Burton, 
daughter of a former president of the University, and Helen. 
The address of the evening was delivered by Jane Addams. 

I consider Jane Addams the greatest woman of our century. 
She affected social service throughout the entire known world, 
and we who worked beside her in Chicago were privileged to 
see her proceed calmly, simply and with directness and cer- 
tainty as she faced the problems of the day. 

Tragic, indeed, the passing of this great heart and mind. 
When Jane Addams died, no funeral could have been more 
stirring. In the open courtyard at Hull House stood hundreds 
of sorrowing people. The casket rested upon the verandah of 
the main building so that it might be viewed by all. My 
daughter and I were asked, by Mrs. Robert Morss Lovett, 
to stay with Mary McDowell for whom the day was particu- 
larly difficult. And so, in Miss Addams' own sitting room on 
the second floor, looking through Miss Addams' window, we 
participated, with a group of others, in the service that marked 
the passing of our greatest citizen. 



Qudges v:2) 

THE RAPID CHANGES occuring everywhere in the world 
focussed attention and interest, at this time, on Russia's 
experiment. I, too, had been most desirous of seeing how 
Russia fared during the process of developing her five-year 
plan. The auspicious moment came in June of 1930, and so, 
with Frances Hannah and my niece, Ruth Greenebaum as 
choice companions, I sailed on the S.S. Bremen. The boat 
was so gorgeous and so enormous in size that we lost our way 
one day and were a whole hour late for a tea engagement! 

Aboard, there were many groups of college students; a 
large number, like ourselves, Russia-bound, under the auspices 
of the Open Road Tourist Agency. Our leader, Carl Borders, 
of the League for Industrial Democracy and resident of Chi- 
cago Commons, Miss Phillips, of Quaker training and Dr. 
Colston Warne, economist, gave us daily informative lectures 
and were well-equipped to be our guides in the study of 
U.S.S.R. development. 

We landed at Bremen and were transferred to a beautiful 
Finnish boat. The Baltic Sea was new to us and we caught 
interesting glimpses of piers and towns and picturesque sail- 
boats and high schooners and fishing craft on the blue wajters. 
At sundown they were silhouetted in black against the rosy 
afterglow, leaving a memorable experience in scenic glory. 


The food was so lavish and so deHcious that everyone helped 
himself to too much — and then ate it ! 

Rocks and pine trees, powerful men and women were the 
impressions left by Helsingfors and Sibelius' musical descrip- 
tions would henceforth have, for us, a new significance. 

Soon we arrived in Leningrad and were delighted with our 
first view of the Neva. Attractive young Russian women, 
suitably garbed, were our guides and we were introduced to 
all the well-known places that heretofore had been merely 
words to us: Nevsky-Prospekt, Catherine the Great's "Winter 
Palace", the home of Peter the Great and the ornate homes 
of the Czars, much less wonderful to us than the remarkable 
institutions for children. The famous Community Kitchen 
was most typical. Here eight hundred people were employed 
to feed thirty-six thousand, daily, at a cost of fifteen cents 
for breakfast and twenty-five cents for dinner. Potatoes were 
peeled and dishes washed by machine. We marveled at the 
"new Russia." 

In the market place we expected to see caviar and borsch; 
instead we found blackberries, home-made butter, cooked 
sausage and thin waffles with creamy filling. 

At Moscow our interest centered in the Kremlin, of course, 
and its great golden domes were as we had pictured them. 
Here Stalin reigned supreme ! Here is evidence of incredible 
power and wealth! In one room, set aside for armor and 
military relics we saw swords of mother-of-pearl, gold, silver; 
ornaments of jade and ivory; precious gems; gifts to the Czars 
representing fabulous value like Easter eggs set in diamonds. 
The thrones and trappings for both men and horses would 
clothe a nation ! It was all a startling contrast to the thatched- 
roof cottages we visited ; evidence that the collective plan idea, 
thus far, had demanded stoical sacrifice of men and women 

[ 228 ] 

and children. But we were awe-struck at the'thought given 
to childhood as we watched the five-hundred youngsters in 
the "Park of Culture and Rest". There we found trained 
kindergartners and fine equipment and there was the best of 
care for each child, as parents enjoyed their day of rest under 
the five-day plan for workers. 

In the Museum of the Revolution and Anti-Religious Gal- 
lery were pictures graphically portraying wrongs done in the 
name of Religion. Movies of pogroms we witnessed, also, 
and everywhere we saw hundreds of children being taught 
Communism and a contempt for old superstitions. 

While Frances and Ruth visited the Criminal Colony and 
gathered information about its revolutionary treatment of 
prisoners, I had an interview with one of Julius Rosenwald's 
workers, Mr. Graver, who was assistant to Mr. Rosen. "No 
country," said Mr. Graver, "is less anti-Semitic than Russia 
is now, and none is more helpful to the Jews." 

In Kiev we visited the Agricultural School and the Schools 
for Adults in which students are subsidized while studying. 
We saw the Dnieper River where whole families live on rafts, 
and felt, everywhere, the worship of Lenin, which seemed to 
have taken the place of discarded religion. All homes had a 
"Lenin Corner" instead of the old shrines, and yet in some 
houses we saw Icons! In our surprise, we questioned one 
woman, asking the reason for the Icon in an irreligious home. 
"Oh," she replied, "Of course we don't believe in religion, 
but the Icon can do no harm, so to be on the safe side we 
just leave it there." 

We sought out Jewish institutions and found them well run 
and with modern techniques and policies. The Russians ap- 
peared a mild and kindly people, deeply engrossed in their 
great experiment. 


Next came Odessa, where we heard about the "declassed 
Jews" who were rehabilitated for some work. They were 
taught and given a dollar a day, and allowed to choose their 
trades. There were six thousand souls there, each one allowed 
three weeks for recuperation. The soup kitchen and Poly- 
clinic won our admiration. 

If the Russians carry out all their plans they will reach the 
summit of proper care for all workers. Laborer and peasant 
are free and though not very comfortable, now, will be so 
when their country is further industrialized. The favorite 
quotation, that "Religion has been an opiate for the people", 
was certainly true. This was the tale of Russia trying to dig 
herself out of merciless despotism into a new dawn. Czars 
had been dethroned, nobles, whether cruel or kind, banished; 
rivers of blood had flowed because of fear of those in command. 

The lasting impression of our visit to Russia was not one 
favorable to conditions there. The people worked hard and 
said, "It is difficult, but when we have finished, the land will 
be ours!" They have made a brave beginning, but accomp- 
lishment seemed very far away. 

Budapest was delightful, but we left it excitedly, to speed 
on to the Mozart Festival, at Salzburg. There we heard a 
most magnificent production of "Don Juan" and were pleased 
to sit next to our old Chicago friends, the Max Oberndorfers. 
In spite of a steady downpour, we "did" everything prescribed, 
I contenting myself with Tyrolean music and heavenly views 
of the Bavarian Alps, while the girls did the traditional "Shoot 
the Shoots" into the famous salt mines. 

Then, on to Munich, which we enjoyed as a meeting with 
an old friend. In Berlin we divided our time between Fred- 
erick the Great and Frederick Kuh, with a decided preference 
for the latter, of whom we are very proud. And last, Cologne 


. . . and, once more, Paris . . . and happily back to America! 
It was good to be home, where the contrast offered by democ- 
racy gave me much food for thought. 

As the Council grew in stature and importance, the Tri- 
ennials became more and more significant. Never were they 
perfunctory, and each one was colorful and constructive. 

Los Angeles was Triennial host in 1929. It was the first 
meeting on the Pacific coast, and for the first time attendance 
of members from the western states was thus made possible. 
This Triennial found the Council functioning with many na- 
tional departments and committees: Community Cooperation, 
Education, Extension and Field Service, Farm and Rural 
Work, Immigrant Aid and Immigrant Education, Legislation 
and Civics, Peace, Religion and Religious Education, Social 
Service, Vocational Guidance and Employment, a sub-com- 
mittee on the Blind and Sight Conservation, and one on the 
Deaf. Our Junior Auxiliary was thriving, as were the Hannah 
G. Solomon Scholarship Fund and "The Jewish Woman", 
the Council's publication for its members. Our splendid na- 
tional president, Mrs. Friend, had reason to view the organi- 
zation with utmost gratification. 

One of the Triennial's evening highspots was a magnificent 
pageant entitled "Hear, O Israel" in which Mrs. Lillian B. 
Goldsmith, president of the local section and co-author of 
the production, took the leading role. 

Los Angeles has a Council House of its own, a building 
that greatly redounds to the credit of the section and Mrs. 
Goldsmith, to whose effort the accomplishment was largely 

Probably the most notable contribution of the Council's 
work for humanity lies in the field of Immigrant Aid. Cer- 
tainly, at the dramatic and vital moment when hundreds of 


our suffering brethren came to America for sanctuary from 
Hitler's persecution, the Council was prepared, through its 
previously well-established "set-up", to take over the gigantic 
task of their rehabilitation in a strange land. We had trained 
and volunteer workers devoted and well-equipped, to meet 
them at ports and docks, to arrange for transportation and 
visas, to place children, to unite families and to follow through 
with a complete program of orientation. The dramatic story 
of thousands of grateful repatriated Jews testifies, today, how 
well that obligation was fulfilled. Our government recognized 
the excellence of our work and asked the loan of our repre- 
sentative at Ellis Island, Miss Cecelia Razovsky, to assist in 
its overwhelming task. We were fortunate in having Mrs. 
Maurice Goldman as our national president during this emer- 
gency. Through her former chairmanship of our committee 
on Immigrant Aid, she brought to the new problems not only 
familiarity with the need of the moment, but also a rare abil- 
ity and quality of leadership. At the Detroit Triennial of 
1932, she announced the change of name from Immigrant 
Aid to Service to the Foreign-Born. This department has 
grown steadily in importance, until today we are a recognized 
force all over the world. We have included in our work inter- 
national service, stimulation of interest in legislation aff'ecting 
the foreign-born, deportation cases and the relocation of di- 
vided families. 

The Triennial of 1935, took me to New Orleans, the hos- 
pitable city where, with special pleasure, I always enjoy visit- 
ing many good friends; among them, Mrs. Joseph Friend, a 
valued worker and not without honor in her own community. 
The general theme of the convention, "What Do We Owe 
Our Next Generation?", was brilliantly expounded by emi- 
nent Jewish leaders, both men and women, and a panel dis- 


cussion by representatives of the National Conference of Chris- 
tians and Jews was most enthusiastically received. 

No organization has done more to promote the great ideals 
of justice and brotherhood for which we strive than the Na- 
tional Conference of Christians and Jews. Created for the 
purpose of bringing together Protestant, Catholic and Jew, 
in the belief that friendly and easy association and reasonable 
discussions will result in mutual understanding and respect, 
it holds out hope and inspiration for the future. It is too much 
to expect, however, that in a short span of time we can abolish 
prejudices and differences in religions and races. 

I have belonged to the executive board of the Chicago 
Round-Table of Christians and Jews, and I am convinced, 
as are the other members, that human advance can, and will, 
be made ! To me, this splendid organization represented the 
flowering of years of association with women of other faiths 
in groups, clubs and classes. A number of barriers had been 
broken through since the days of the Parliament of Religions, 
and divergences in religious belief became less disturbing. 
We found ourselves able to discuss questions freely and we 
saw how closely our thinking, for the most part, paralleled. 
Now, the Round Tables, as the local groups affiliated with 
the National Conference are called, are able, increasingly, to 
spread their message to a much larger circle than that reached 
before. Surely, in time, their message must be heeded ! 

At the Juniors' Council Biennial in October, 1935, I was 
happy as I spoke to them about "The Daily Adventure." 
What great promise for the future that gathering held ! How 
eagerly we watch our young people as they start out on their 
great adventure and how we rejoice in those who, from <the 
beginning, choose the right pathway. We are eager that the 
years of study may be passed profitably, and that an educa- 


tion may fit them for the challenges life presents. American 
youth, by and large, possesses courage, honesty and kindliness, 
coupled with an intelligent social consciousness. That, one 
felt, was especially evidenced at the Juniors' convention. 

My days with these young Jewish women were a source of 
great joy and satisfaction as I remember so pleasantly their 
kindnesses. Their eleventh convention, in Chicago in 1939, 
afforded me another splendid opportunity to observe and 
glory in their capabilities, and I was touched by their insist- 
ence that I be the guest of honor at their luncheon. 

Important as the Triennials are, however, as a means of 
gauging the Council's growth and scope, it was at executive 
meetings and conferences that national officers and board 
members set the policies, outlined plans and carried on the 
detailed business of the organization. A complete record of 
these many consultations would read like a travelogue encom- 
passing the entire area of the country. As I travelled to one 
or another, finding new stimulation and encouragement in 
each, I took advantage of the opportunities presented, to visit 
sections in every locality. On each such tour, I was glad 
that — unlike the "o|[d woman who lived in the shoe", — I 
had no desire to spank my many children, or to put them to 
bed ; I was far too proud of every one of them ! 

It was recognized that most was to be gained by frequent 
discussions of common problems, and so the Council organ- 
ized State federations and, later, regional conferences in some 

The North-Central group of the regional conferences, which 
includes the Chicago area, is of course the one I know best. 
It has flourished and we have had excellent meetings in our 
mid-western cities. One of the most noteworthy was held in 
Chicago Heights, in 1939, where I sat beside young Clifton 


Utley, at dinner. Mr. Utley, who was then director of the 
Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, was the speaker of 
the evening, and he painted a vivid and unforgettable picture 
as he spoke on "Toward the Next War!" Yet another such 
conference, in 1932, was that held in Minneapolis, home of 
Mrs. Arthur Brin, who has made a telling contribution not 
only to the Council, but to the National Committee on the 
Cause and Cure of War, as well. She was then chairman of 
the Council's national committee on Peace which was the 
special theme of the Minneapolis conference discussion. As 
intelligently as we could, we weighed the alternatives which 
might lead to rational settlement of disputes by the nations 
of the world. Alas! our message did not reach the ears for 
which it was intended ! When I was given the opportunity of 
speaking on "The Expanding Universe", I voiced the con- 
clusion that ruin from war is universal. Victor and vanquished, 
alike, are blighted and the victor should beware lest his gains 
provide the basis for a next war. Victory should mean more 
than a medal pinned on the empty coat-sleeve of a martyr. 
It must denote that right has triumphed, and that saying 
"Peace where there is no peace," cannot count in the forward 
advance of the human family. 

Mrs. M. C. Sloss was Inter-State president of the Western- 
Regional Conference which I attended in San Francisco in 
March of 1936. There the serious work of the meeting was 
lightened by entertainment which I especially enjoyed, for I 
never cease to delight in the opportunity of drawing closer 
to and knowing well the outstanding representative women 
of our faith with which Council membership automatically 
endows one. 

Toronto extended to me an invitation, in 1937, to attend 
and address the annual meeting of the section, which I found 


a thriving organization, doing admirable work, civically. It 
had established a remarkable community center and gave 
evidence of inspiring leadership. My visit coincided with the 
coronation of the King and Queen of England, and Canada 
was in festive attire. In shop windows were displayed figures 
of the royal family in their regal robes, and the people were 
enthusiastic in their celebration and show of patriotism. The 
Toronto Section of the Council, too, gave a lovely "Corona- 
tion luncheon". Today it is functioning effectively in work 
directed toward the war effort. 

Each Council section I have visited, and they have been 
leo-ion, has thrilled me, anew, with the usefulness of its mem- 
bers. The eagerness of Jewish women to contribute to the 
general welfare is apparent on every hand, and their devotion 
to the tasks undertaken has indeed been consecration. Because 
of them, the story of the Council is a glorious record of 
achievement. Nor do we forget the signal accomplishment 
of the Temple Sisterhoods all through the country and of 
auxiliaries such as that of the B'nai B'rith. Hadassah, organ- 
ized by Henrietta Szold in the early nineteen hundreds, has 
brought to Palestine the devoted interest and effort of thou- 
sands of women. Stirring and vital, indeed, is the role played 
by Jewish women in America. 




(Proverbs xv:33) 

THE YEAR 1933 brought to Chicago one of its most signifi- 
cant experiences; one so extraordinary, in fact, that an- 
other star was added to our city's flag. Up to that time it 
had possessed but three: one for the Fort Dearborn Massacre, 
one for the Chicago Fire and one for the World's Fair of 
1893. But now there was to be our second great Fair, the 
Century of Progress Exposition, celebrating the hundredth 
anniversary of the city's incorporation. We, who remembered 
so well the magnificent "White City" of 1893, were over- 
whelmed by this modern day with its new utilitarian type of 
architecture, its amazing and effective uses of color and light 
and the remarkable exhibits proclaiming advances in every 
field. Now, too, we incorporated the word "streamlined" 
into our vocabularies. 

The World's Fair of 1933, like that of 1893, was built upon 
Chicago's lake front, but not in Jackson Park, this time. In- 
stead, it was located practically in the heart of the city. For 
this great exposition almost all of the land providing the 
brand-new site was man-made ! The entire lake front, begin- 
ning at Twelfth Street, and extending as far south as Thirty- 
Ninth Street, had been filled in and, lo ! there was land where 
no land had been before ! The Adler Planetarium was within 
the Exposition's gates, and just outside the entrance were the 


Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum. Thus an interest- 
ing contrast in types of architecture was presented between 
the classic older buildings and the ultra-modern ones that 
characterized the 1933 Fair. 

All of us had season tickets, and a general going and com- 
ing to and from the Fair grounds became almost routine in our 
household. Frances Hannah, with two other young women, 
had established a Children's Guide Service which delighted 
us, since it became necessary for her to know the Fair in all 
its aspects and phases, thus bringing to her an additional edu- 
cational advantage. These girls arranged a series of special 
tours for children whose parents otherwise could not afford 
to send them to the Exposition at all, and expenses for these 
jaunts were defrayed by groups of public-spirited individuals 
and organizations. 

Thanks to its remaining a second year, the Fair was not a 
losing venture, financially! 

There were many spectacular features of "The Century of 
Progress", but nothing exceeded the thrill of the moment 
when, on the opening night, as if by magic, the grounds 
suddenly became illuminated. We were told that a beam of 
light which had left the star, Arcturus, forty years before, 
when the World's Fair of 1893 was opened, had just reached 
the earth, producing the energy to set in motion the machinery 
which dispelled the darkness of that first evening of the 1933 
Exposition. Nevertheless, to those of us who were not scien- 
tists, it was magic ! 

There was an advantage in being over seventy years old! 
I could appreciate, fully, the great strides made in all the 
sciences so graphically set before us at the Fair. I thought of 
the old Exposition on the lake front which we had known 
years before, where new trends and accomplishments had 


been apparent, also. I remember that my father's perfected 
ice-box was exhibited and looked upon with favor. It had 
some special cooling device for drinking water, and there was 
a faucet on the outside from which it could be drawn. My 
father, who was inventive and far-seeing, said once that he 
believed the day would come when "a door would be made 
which would be open and shut at the same time." I wish I 
knew what his mind pictured then, and I wonder if it could 
possibly have been like the revolving doors we take so for 
granted, today. 

Nothing at the Fair gave us more pleasure than the music ! 
The wonderful open-air concerts, free to the public, were, I 
am sure, the impetus toward a much greater appreciation of 
good music, generally, in our city. The Art Institute, too, 
made history with its borrowed world-renowned collections. 
Whistler's Mother, straight from Paris, serenely "received" 
thousands of visitors, daily, and was probably the most popu- 
lar woman at the Fair ! 

True to my devotion to expositions, I spent much time 
at the "Century of Progress," and through appointment of 
Governor Horner served as one of the hostesses in the Illinois 
State House which, in itself, played the role of hostess build- 
ing ^t the Fair. It was a delightful place and its charming 
auditorium was in constant use. The Chicago Woman's Club 
had arranged a series of weekly lectures on "The Progress of 
Woman", and I was assigned the subject "Woman in Organ- 
ization," a topic which afforded splendid opportunity for tak- 
ing note of the great contributions women had made within 
a century toward the achievement of high goals. All of the 
talks in this series emphasized both the specific contributions 
individual women had made to the advancement of civiliza- 
tion, and the aid given to the larger purposes they had 


espoused by their ability to awaken group consciousness. 
When we remember the great fear of earher days, lest woman 
lose her position as queen of the home, lest her children be 
neglected and the family mending left undone, we have tre- 
mendous admiration for the pioneers who started, quietly, 
the trend toward emancipation so long ago that already, in 
the "gay nineties" era, woman's new status was unquestioned. 
Even her desire to wear short hair, if she chose, was not 
branded as an insistence upon the right to trespass on mascu- 
line prerogatives. 

A splendid International Congress of Women was held in 
Chicago in July, 1933, under the auspices of the National 
Council of Women of the United States, bringing together 
members of its component organizations, and persons of note, 
from all over the world. The stated purpose of the Congress 
was, "to concentrate the thinking of the representative women 
of fifty countries upon problems of world moment — and to 
release that thinking into action." The general theme was 
"Our Common Cause — Civilization." Lena Madesin Phil- 
lips, president of the organization, was a woman of striking 
personality whose strength added dignity to every meeting. 

A most unique feature was arranged for the banquet. Tele- 
grams, cablegrams and radiograms were sent directly, from 
the hall, to internationally famous women in many parts of 
the world. A huge map covered one end of the banquet- 
room, and in electric lights the courses of the various messages 
were flashed upon the map as, travelling by land and sea, 
they were received by the personages to whom they were 
directed. One of these went to a passenger on a ship in mid- 
ocean ! Suddenly, and thrillingly, replies actually came back 
to us in time to be read to the assembled banquet guests. 
That, too, seemed a bit of sheer magic ! 


Among the delegates was Frau Beth, the first Austrian 
woman to become a lawyer, and winner of the coveted 
Emmanuel Kant award for the best book on comparative 
religions. She is now a resident of Chicago, and we delight 
to number her among our friends. We did not then know the 
anguish the future would bring to her, to the Baroness Ishi- 
moto of Japan and to other fine and noted women who were 
with us at this meeting. There was, however, at the con- 
vention, an uneasy consciousness of the black cloud hovering 
over Europe, for Hitler had but recently come upon the 
scene and one could sense repressed fear. 

In the exhibition hall of the Palmer House, next to the 
ballroom where the larger Congress sessions were held, the 
participating organizations had set up displays, of which my 
daughter was in charge, and it was interesting to see what 
each was contributing to the general good. Here, at frequent 
intervals, a recording I had made told the story of the origin, 
development and scope of the National Council of Jewish 
Women. Rose Alschuler, who established Chicago's first nurs- 
ery schools, led a round table discussion on "Opportunity 
Through Education", during the Congress, and each session 
provided real inspiration to all present, as well as a meeting 
ground for old friends. 

Though the International Congress of Women and the 
series of lectures arranged by the Chicago Woman's Club 
would have made 1933 a noteworthy year for our city, even 
had there been no World's Fair, I believe that by the linking 
of these three outstanding events, each added to the stature 
of the others. 

The year that added a star to Chicago's flag, marked for 
me, too, a milestone of personal import when, in the first 
month of 1933, I celebrated my seventy-fifth birthday. It 


was difficult to believe I could feel so little change between 
the ages of fifty and seventy-five, and I made tacit apology 
to those whom I had previously considered old at that age. 
I could still travel alone, and keep up quite as lively a gait 
as my dear companion, Lizzie Barbe, one year my senior, 
whose vigor I had always ascribed to her Quaker ancestry. 

It really required endurance, both physical and emotional, 
to live through the series of delightful seventy-fifth birthday 
parties that followed one another in close succession. My, how 
I loved them all! But I felt I had more than my quota! 
How often I wished my mother could have shared them, for 
whenever she was asked what she most wished for her chil- 
dren, she replied, "that they may find favor with their fellow- 
men." In some way, for me, Fate had fulfilled her desire, 
but I could not understand why. Could it be that love begets 
love, and thus perhaps is reflected back to an individual some 
portion of his outpouring to those who surround him? To 
me, like Solomon, "an understanding heart" would be my ex- 
pressed wish. If, from that yearning, have sprung opportun- 
ities for service, then I can only feel that the compensatory 
joy far outweighs any accomplishment; a joy which cannot 
fail to make one humble. 

The Chicago section of the Council celebrated this birthday 
most beautifully with a luncheon and reception at the Stand- 
ard Club. Mrs. Arthur Brin, the National president, came 
from Minneapolis for the occasion, and Jane Addams was the 
other special guest. It had been arranged that Mrs. Brin and 
I send messages by radio throughout the country, to over 
two hundred Council sections which were observing the day 
in their own cities. It was truly awe-inspiring to feel that a 
bond was, at that moment, almost tangibly uniting so many 
groups of women. 


The presence of Jane Addams made c\'en more memorable 
my seventy-fifth birthday party given by the Council 

The after-luncheon program was a playlet entitled, "Dinner 
for Hannah", which closed with a clever parody of a then- 
popular song. The name was "Of Thee We Sing, Hannah", 
and the message it carried was to the effect that the first 
hundred years are the hardest, but that I had made a very 
good start ! Having attempted play-writing myself, and having 
produced two skits, "Jews of Illinois in Story and Tableaux" 
and a parody on "The Yellow Jacket", I was in a position 
to appreciate the time and effort involved in so delightful a 
dramatization as "Dinner for Hannah." 

The observance of my "real birthday" we have always kept 
at home, where the comings and goings of family and friends, 
the letters, telegrams and all of the attendant excitement make 
each anniversary eventful. This year, the day began at break- 
fastime, with the arrival of a group of Alpha Epsilon Phi girls 
who came, serenading. Guests all through the day kept me 
oblivious to the fact that, for the evening, the family, repre- 
sented by three generations, was arranging a surprise party. 
The apartment adjoining ours was vacant, and in it all the 
secret preparations were made. Imagine my complete sur- 
prise as I was ushered next door to be greeted by my nieces 
who were garbed in the charming costumes of my youth. In 
gala mood we sat down to a royal banquet and added another 
happy page to the Greenebaum album. 

The series of seventy-fifth birthday celebrations was cli- 
maxed by a supper at Sinai Center, given jointly by the Men's 
Club, the Sisterhood and the Temple's senior and junior con- 
gregations. Lizzie Barbe and Jane Addams were special guests 
and Lizzie and I felt most "elegant" in our costumes of the 
period of 1893, and the piano solo with which, upon request, 
I favored my audience, was of the same vintage. Among my 
most cherished treasures is the exquisite diamond-studded 


watch presented to me upon that occasion. Sinai Temple 
has been close to my heart throughout the years, and I am 
now grateful for the privilege of sitting upon its board. 

Among those entering most sympathetically into all my 
experiences was my son-in-law, Emile, and I have always 
been glad that his presence made this celebration complete, 
for it was in the following year that he died. Although we 
were greatly concerned about his health at that time, he had 
joined in the observance of the Passover Seder Service with 
his usual self-forge tfulness. Our distress was, unfortunately, 
not without cause, for his death followed in a very few days. 
We were stunned. Our family circle of four was broken. 
Again, a period of sorrow and of readjustment. 

I welcomed the second year of the "Century of Progress" 
Exposition because Helen, Frances Hannah and I were able 
to spend a good deal of time there and the impersonal activ- 
ity helped my daughter through an exceedingly difficult 
period. We went our way quietly and calmly, but very sadly. 
The Frank Solomons were now living in Winnetka and each 
of them brought us solace. However, we lived in a more or 
less minor key until Philip Angel, a fine young lawyer from 
Charleston, West Virginia, came to spend a Christmas holiday 
in Chicago. He and Frances Hannah met ! A new happiness 
was brought to us, as was an awakened appreciation of the 
good in life, when they were married the following December. 

Lizzie Barbe and I travelled west, together, in 1939, to 
attend the Council's Western-Interstate Conference at San 
Francisco. We enjoyed rest and recreation at Palm Springs 
and Los Angeles, too, but the highspot of our trip was a visit 
at Rose's Tempe, Arizona, house with her and sister Helen. 
Henry Kuh was no longer living, and my two "little sisters", 
who had been close companions all their lives, spent much 


time together. It was always a very special joy to me to be 
where Helen was. There had been a particular bond of affec- 
tion between us from the days when, as a child, she had 
followed me about. 

Our days in Tempe had a certain eerie quietness. We were 
saddened because Rose was ill and to find her so depleted 
in strength brought a chilling consciousness of the threat we 
sensed but could not mention. Before the following January — 
her birth-month, as it was mine — Rose had left us. Death 
came also, to sister Helen in the next year while she was 
travelling in Vienna. A son and daughter were with her 
there, but she seemed very far away from the rest of us. 

I had survived many of my younger sisters and brothers. 
Again and again I had to learn the heart-breaking lesson of 
life: one must pay in too-exacting ratio the price of the joys 
life gives us. But I learned, also, that the blessing of human 
companionship, when removed by death, should entail no 
aftermath of bitterness. The great awareness of our loss is 
our tribute to those who have gone. 

On December 22, 1937, we had planned to celebrate the 
fiftieth wedding anniversary of my brother and sister-in-law, 
Mose and Rose Greenebaum. How tragic that on that day, 
instead, our Mose was laid to rest! During the year 1941 
my brother Gus also died. His wife, Leah, had passed away 
when she was still young, and some years later Gus had mar- 
ried Blanche Mainzer of Grand Rapids, whose sweetness and 
devotion endeared her to us all. Their daughter's beautiful 
wedding took place shortly before Gus's death, and that he 
had lived to participate in it in his inimitable and joyous 
way, had added a point of completion to his life. I remember 
Gus as a most lovable little boy, and his fundamental cheeri- 
ness never left him. 


So many of us now had gone ! Theresa, great in her cour- 
age, was away from us when she closed her life's book. 
Henriette, Mary, Helen and Rose; Mose, Henry and Gus; 
Henry Frank, Charley Haas, Henry Solomon, Henry Kuh, 
Joe Eisendrath, Esther, Leah . . . one by one we had said fare- 
well to them. Too many of the next generation, too, had died ! 
Herbert, Louise Nathan, Gus Haas, James Lesem, Henry 
Arthur Greenebaum, Emile Levy and Alfred Alschuler 
. . . each so fine and so beloved. To some this may seem but 
a list of names, but back of it lies a family saga. Inevitable, 
these breaks in the ranks; these heart-wrenching moments of 
parting. Yet, never in our grief did we forget our gratitude 
for the great privilege that was ours in building a family life 
so completely satisfying and enriching. 

And now sad New Year's Eves for us followed. By this time 
our elaborated performances had discontinued and we were 
becoming accustomed to thinking of ourselves as a diminish- 
ing troupe. Nevertheless, in unbroken succession, each year's 
end found many of us congregated at one or the other of our 
homes, with the third generation dropping in to visit for a 
bit and share with the first and second generations in this 
night of memories. New Year's Eve would always be diffi- 
cult in the future, but we knew we must not mourn. We 
remembered, with thanks, the many bright days of the long 
ago when all our lives were interwoven into brilliant blending 
patterns of joyful living. 



(Testament of Joseph i) 

I HAD THOUGHT that no birthday festivity could surpass 
my seventy-fifth, but by a happy coincidence of date, 
the seventy-ninth, in 1937, joined itself to the forty-fourth 
anniversary of the Council, and, lo! I became an international 
figure ! Yes, that is quite literally true, and I wish I could do 
justice to the wonder and joy I experienced when I was in- 
formed that an international broadcast had been arranged in 
honor of the day, in which seventeen women from seven 
countries would participate. 

Mrs. Marion Miller, executive director of the Council, in- 
troduced the program. Mrs. Rebekah Kohut and Mrs. Carrie 
Chapman Catt spoke from New York, as did Nina Strand- 
berg, president of the Federation of Business and Professional 
Women's Clubs of Finland. A quotation from a leading news- 
paper that day will suggest the unprecedented scope of the 
broadcast: "Mme. Leon Brunschweig, Under-Secretary of 
State for Education in France, will speak from France. Mme. 
Frantiska Plaminkova, member of the Czechoslovak senate 
and chairman of the women's council in that country, will 
speak from Prague. Mme. Sonja Branting-Westerstahl, daugh- 
ter of the late premier of Sweden, will be heard from Stock- 
holm, and Mrs. Israel Zangwill, wife of the British novelist, 
Miss Harriet Cohn, British pianist, and Mrs. Ernest L. Frank- 
lin, former president of the National Council of England, will 


be heard from London. Miss Marie Ginsberg, Polish member 
of the Secretariat of the League of Nations, will speak from 
the library of the league. Mme. Gertrude Van Tyne, head 
of the Jewish committee for German refugees in Holland, will 
be another speaker, and so will Winnifred Kydd, dean of 
women at Queens University in Canada. From the west coast 
will be heard Mrs. M. C. Sloss, honorary vice-president of 
the Council; and Mrs. Maurice L. Goldman, who will speak 
from the Rose Bowl of the Palace Hotel in San Francisco." 
Mrs. Barbara Blackstock Cody was heard from Canada, and 
Mrs. Brin and I spoke from Chicago. Meetings and social 
gatherings were scheduled throughout the country, and in 
all Council sections members came together to listen to the 
"International Birthday Party", of which the general theme 
was "Woman's Place in World Progress Today." 

Mrs. Brin and I left the luncheon at the Standard Club 
to go direct to the broadcasting station, taking with us a very 
excited and jubilant Frances Hannah. It was awe-inspiring 
to hear the voices of women from all over the world come 
through the microphone, and it was thrilling beyond words 
to feel that so many persons were sharing my birthday with 
me. But far more than any element of personal pride, was 
the knowledge impressed upon me that day: the Council had 

The members of the Chicago section made me happy, as 
always, with their evidences of affection, and I was grateful 
to its officers for making their part in the celebration so espe- 
cially heart-warming. I tried to express this in my letter of 
acknowledgement to the sections: "The kind messages sent 
to me from the various sections on the occasion of my seventy- 
ninth birthday and the forty-fifth year of the Council brought 
to me one of the greatest joys I have ever known. The Inter- 

[ 248 ] 

national broadcast was the most thrilling experience of my 
life. Through it we, the heirs of one of the oldest religions, 
have by the aid of the latest discoveries in science, heard 
voices blended in sympathetic chorus for all good purposes . . . 
May we hope that a time will come when all men will be 
led, as is an orchestra, in unity and harmony. I cannot ex- 
press, adequately, my thanks to the national board of the 
Council and to those whose strenuous efforts made the broad- 
cast possible. To the participants, my thanks are due for the 
privilege they conferred upon their listeners who were thus 
able to hear the voices of women known throughout the world 
for their sacrifices and efforts in behalf of a happier humanity. 
And to all who brought a tribute of love and friendship, I 
would convey my deep appreciation, for I realize that it is 
proof of your loyalty and devotion to the Council. In it, too, 
your homage is given to the memory of the work of the pio- 
neers whose faith in the power of Jewish womanhood created 
this band of workers. My birthday wish for each one of you 
is that she may experience such happiness as I have known 
through this birthday celebration." 

There followed a whole series of parties, honoring pioneers 
in the "woman's movement". (It really was no handicap to 
be eighty!) The Chicago Woman's Club and the Women's 
City Club remembered their founders in beautiful spirit, and 
younger organizations, such as the Alumni of the College of 
Jewish Studies, proved in their spontaneous tribute that con- 
secration to Jewishness is ageless. 

The celebration of my eightieth birthday brought an aware- 
ness of a milestone of unusual significance. I was the delighted 
recipient of hundreds of messages and it was good to know 
that many dollars were added to charity coffers as a mark of 
the day. 

[ 249 ] 

Sinai Temple devoted a Sunday morning service in its rec- 
ognition, with all of the members of my immediate family, 
present, including children and grandchildren, as well as 
many others who were dear to me. Dr. Mann, Mrs. Brin and 
Mrs. Gerson Levi spoke, and I responded. I never think of 
the occasion but as a holy day. It was one of the most beauti- 
ful tributes I have ever known, and though many tears were 
shed, there were none by me. A deep peace seemed to possess 
me, and I felt profound gratitude for the health that had made 
it possible for me to live and work. 

The following press release appeared in the newspapers 
just before the National Council's 1938 Triennial: 

"When Mrs. Hannah G. Solomon, founder of the National 
Council of Jewish Women, appears as the honor guest at the 
Fifteenth Triennial Convention of the organization to be held 
in Pittsburgh beginning January 23rd, she will be presented 
with a list of 100 new members for every one of her 80 years. 
'Founder's Day', which marks the birthday of Mrs. Solomon, 
will be celebrated through a series of simultaneous meetings 
held by 200 Sections of the Council throughout the United 
States and Canada through January, Mrs. Joseph M. Welt, 
program chairman of the Triennial Convention announced 
on her arrival in New York this week to conclude plans for the 

conference A nation-wide campaign to add 8,000 

new members to the Council's roster of more than 50,000 
women is in full swing throughout the country, Mrs. Welt 
announced." (This goal, incidentally, was almost reached.) 

"The 'Birthday celebrations' will begin in Chicago, Mrs. 
Solomon's birthplace, with a city-wide birthday party spon- 
sored by the Chicago Council section. Mrs. Maurice L. Gold- 
man, First Vice-President and Chairman of the executive 
committee of the National Council of Jewish Women, will 


be one of the chief speakers on that occasion. The birthday 
celebration will culminate with a banquet to be held at the 
William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, January 
26th, with more than 1000 delegates and visitors assembled." 

In spite of the fact that I had not been well during the 
summer, and that the days before my eightieth birthday had 
been difficult and the functions strenuous, I felt quite equal 
to going to Pittsburgh. In fact, I seemed so brisk that my 
daughter-in-law, who attended the Triennial as a Cleveland 
delegate, said to me quite wisely, "You really don't need a 
doctor or nurse when you are ill. Mother. What you need 
is a convention!" 

The Triennial was most inspiring. It was gratifying to see 
the fine young women who had joined the ranks with Coun- 
cil's first and second generations. Many were daughters and 
grand-daughters of the founders in their communities. We 
of the older group spoke together of the problems encountered 
during the forty-five years in which we had worked together, 
of the difficulties we had surmounted and of the great tasks 
confronting those whose years of active service lay just ahead. 
The distressing condition of the Jews in Europe immeasurably 
saddened us and we realized how heavy would be the burdens 
we must assume if we would be of constructive assistance. A 
huge program for the rescue of refugee children was projected 
at that meeting. 

The opening session of the Triennial was "Founders' Eve- 
ning", but even more gala .was the convention banquet at 
the William Penn Hotel, our headquarters. James Lawrence 
Houghteling, National Commissioner of Immigration and 
Naturalization and the Honorable George J. Messersmith, 
Assistant Secretary of State were speakers of the evening, 
following my invocation. 


The Council's Service for Foreign Born formed the basis 
of the banquet program and its outstanding feature was a 
broadcast over a national hook-up, which began with the an- 
nouncer who told of the founding and growth of the Council. 
He stated that "delegates from Canada to the Gulf" had 
gathered at the banquet to celebrate its forty-fifth anniversary 
and the eightieth birthday of its founder. 

Then followed, over the air waves, an incident in dramatic 
form; one that never fails to evoke interest in Council achieve- 
ments. It told how, in 1924, when stringent exclusion bills 
kept aliens from the United States, a number of ships were 
caught on the high seas. One bound for America had just 
set out as the new law was enacted, and on board were be- 
tween one and two hundred Russian Jewish immigrants. The 
captain, learning that his passengers would not be accepted 
at their port of destination, attempted to land them else- 
where, but none of the countries to which he appealed would 
receive them. When, out of the Athenian harbor near Piraeus, 
the boat lay at anchor, a young Russian Jewess, a passenger, 
managed to make her way past the guard and go ashore. 
She could speak a little English, but no Greek, and she was 
immediately picked up by the police and taken to a social 
service organization. There she told her story of the stranded 
Russians and begged assistance in their plight. The agency 
sent a wireless message to the New York office of the National 
Council of Jewish Women in which the names of the indi- 
vidual marooned families were transmitted, and the Council 
was able to make provision for their landing in such ports as 
could be obtained for them. At that time, Mexico and Argen- 
tina both offered shelter in the western hemisphere. Similar 
stories of the efficacy of Council's Service For Foreign Born 
could be multiplied indefinitely. 


The convention banquet, with all the traditional appur- 
tenances from birthday cake to speeches, was held just twelve 
days after my eightieth birthday, with almost one thousand 
people gathered to help in its celebration. 

From my dear Greenebaum family I received the princely 
birthday gift of a trip to Florida. My daughter accompanied 
me, and together we revelled in all that such a vacation could 
afford. We chose Passa Grille as our loitering spot, and there 
for six weeks we spent restful, relaxing days, brightened by 
the presence of many friends, many of whom were in near-by 
St. Petersburg. Among them were our dear friends. Judge 
and Mrs. Samuel Alschuler. In my mind, I always think of 
Samuel Alschuler as an outstanding and perfect blending of 
staunch Americanism and Jewish constancy. 

Our homeward trip was revelatory of our versatility in 
enjoyment as, after the serenity of our stay in Passa Grille 
we travelled on, seeing the sights and visiting Council sections 
of the southland. 

Tampa's Council brought admiration by its lovely luncheon 
meeting and the excellent quality of its communal work; in 
Orlando, the Fountain of Youth tempted us — albeit a little 
late, in my case, I suspected. St. Augustine and Jacksonville 
were enchanting in scenic beauty and thrilling in historic in- 
terest, as is so much of Florida. Next came the lakes of 
Winter Park and a visit at Rollins College; the wonderful 
Sarasota Art Palace, gift of Mr. "Circus" Ringling; the Boston 
Red Sox busily practicing and the celebrated Bok Tower and 
the Lake of Wales all shared our enthusiasm, with what is 
perhaps forgivable emphasis on the Tower and its beautiful 
carillon. In Savannah we combined Council business with 
a visit at the home of a nephew and his wife, and enjoyed 
viewing the old Jewish burying ground with its old-world 

. [253] 

brick-walled graves topped with marble slabs bearing lengthy 
inscriptions. Charleston, South Carolina brought us to de- 
lightful relatives and a Council supper meeting, as well as a 
pleasant drive with Mrs. Octavus Cohen who, with her 
eighty-plus years, made me feel quite juvenile ! In Richmond, 
we paid homage to Patrick Henry's Church of his speech- 
making fame, and then . . . Charleston, West Virginia . . . and 
a beaming Frances Hannah and hospitable Philip Angel wait- 
ing to greet us ! 

I was visiting my children in Cleveland when I received 
word that I had become a great-grandmother ! I was deeply 
stirred. It seemed wonderful to know that a new generation 
was beginning in the person of little Philip Angel ! When my 
daughter-in-law drove me to Charleston, after his arrival, I 
did not need to learn to "rave" about my great-grandson, 
as I had perfected the art by constant practice on my four 
grand-children. Small Philip proved to be a golden-haired 
boy of such charm as one finds pictured, usually, only in the 
imagination of hopeful parents. His little brother, Henry, 
arriving on January tenth, 1941, is equally winsome. No, I 
don't think I'm at all prejudiced! 

And now there has been added to our family group another 
fine young man; a psychologist by the name of James Birrin, 
who is going to marry my grand-daughter, Betty. 

Now, I felt, I might put aside the seven-league boots that 
had carried me from one end of the country to the other, 
and across the water, too, and allow myself the luxury of rest 
and contemplation rather than continuous action. Now I 
might devote myself to the books I had long wished to read, 
and I could be at home when came the hour for afternoon 
tea. So it would be! 

Amazingly soon, it seemed to me, 1940 was at hand, and 


here again was January! My Cleveland family came in a 
body to Chicago, and shared, with us, our New Year's Eve. 
Then, a few days later, Frances Hannah and Philip arrived, 
bringing the dear great-grandson, and I knew it was no small 
matter to have become eighty-two ! 

What a privilege to have lived actively through a span of 
years which saw Chicago change from a small community 
to a huge and complex city. How good to have watched the 
Council develop from an idea to a great, functioning organi- 
zation which, one knew, was destined to win a future as glo- 
rious as had been its blessed past! 

The Council's birthday celebration was one of the loveliest 
it had ever prepared. Seated at the speakers' table were a 
number of organization representatives and colleagues with 
whom I had worked through the years. 

From the raised platform I looked out upon the assembled 
members, contrasting them mentally with my memory of the 
Council's founders. I smiled as I thought how groundless 
were the fears of the men about what women would lose 
through participation in communal and world affairs. Never 
have I seen a more alert, dynamic and, withal, a more chic 
and attractive group of women, many of them surprisingly 
young ! I felt secure in the knowledge that they would carry 
forward the Council's high aims and purposes. 

Before me, too, at the tables, were my children and grand- 
children and my fine young nieces, and I felt rich in the 
certainty that they would carry to a new generation the ideals 
and strength of Sarah and Michael Greenebaum. How grate- 
ful I was for the years that had been granted me ! 

Hattie Greenebaum, my prolific sister-in-law, had once 
more turned authoress, and so there was presented a delightful 
pageant, picturing some of the early scenes from my diary — 


this very account of my life which I had already begun. The 
play's program stated that it was "The Days of Her Years . . . 
a dramatization of the autobiography of the founder of the 
National Council of Jewish Women .... to celebrate her 
eighty-second birthday." On the stage was an enormous 
book, and from its pages the actors stepped, as the episodes 
in the life of Hannah G. Solomon, which could be made to 
seem dramatic, were presented. These episodes were joined 
together by a beautifully told narrative. 

My inexpressible appreciation of the Chicago section's re- 
peated celebrations in my honor was inextricably blended 
with my consciousness of its loyalty to the National organiza- 
tion, for I always felt that in so honoring me it was giving 
evidence of that loyalty. My relationship to the local section 
is unique; the child had measured up to its mother's dreams! 
However, several of the Chicago's section's achievements merit 
special praise. 

An office maintained for its Service to the Foreign Born, 
with a staff of paid and rarely faithful volunteer workers is 
an outstanding accomplishment, as is the "Council Camp" 
at Wauconda, Illinois, which provides a summer vacation 
for tired mothers and children who need the out-of-doors. 
During the past summer it brought rest and happiness to six 
hundred and ninety-five different women, girls and little boys 
who would otherwise enjoy no vacation of any type. It is 
Chicago section's most important project and to most of us 
Council Camp is synonymous with the name of Lizzie Barbe, 
for she has devoted herself to it with untiring zeal and has 
been, in truth, the builder of its strong foundations. After 
many successful years, it is a source of gratification to the 
Council and Mrs. Barbe that her cloak has fallen upon the 


shoulders of Mrs. Ella K. Alschuler, so well fitted to perpetu- 
ate her work in spirit and in execution. 

Only once was I obliged, through illness, to forego one of 
the Council's January parties. However, by way of compen- 
sation, Rose Alschuler brought a houseparty of six from 
Chicago to Cleveland, where I was recuperating under the 
devoted ministrations of Helen and Frank. The Solomon 
house was ingeniously converted into the semblance of a 
small hotel, complete even to numbers on the bedroom doors, 
and nothing was omitted to make the eighty-third birthday 
another beautiful memory. 

Again, I was grateful for the fulness of life that had been 
vouchsafed me. 



(Psalms xc:9) 

NOW HAS COME THE TIME for retrospective meditation. 
The mood for cooperative service is strengthened by 
the war now raging; but it is no longer a joyous mood. 

As delegates gathered, once more, from all over our country 
for the 1941 Triennial in New York, able, clear- thinking 
women demonstrated the Council's increasing value in the 
careful and wise planning of their program and discussions. 
My own interest was muted by the shocking and untimely 
death of my beloved nephew, George Kuh. But more than 
ever, the work must go on. 

In my summing up, I am profoundly impressed by the 
Council's size as well as its comprehensive activities. I found 
the organization thriving magnificently, proceeding in an 
ever-widening circle of influence. The Senior membership 
now numbered 48,899, and in our splendid Junior Auxiliary 
were 8,500 young women of great potentiality who, taking 
their places effectively in their own activities today, will aug- 
ment, in time, the Senior ranks. We now rejoice, too, in the 
Councilettes, girls of fourteen to eighteen years, who enroll 
with enthusiasm under the Council banner and carry on as 
sub-Juniors. In Chicago and in a number of other cities we 


have, in addition, a Career Group, composed of busy young 
women whose professional Hfe keeps them from daytime 
meetings. Together, all go forward in fine cooperative 

At the New York Triennial, the Council's progress with 
world trends was obvious. While its fundamental interest 
has always been the study of Judaism and Jewish affairs, it 
is significant that each successive convention finds greater 
stress laid upon social legislation, social welfare, international 
relations and all probems of aliens. Our broader scope was, 
naturally, partially inspired by the formation of Councils in 
Holland, France, Buenos Aires, Johannesburg, London and 
many other countries. Dr. Fanny Reading, of Australia, was 
so impressed by Council work in America that nine sections 
were organized in her country upon her return from the 
United States. Only recently the following cablegram was 
received by our national office: 

"National Council of Jewish Women of Australia pro- 
foundly stirred America's splendid leadership Pacific Peril. 
Have supreme confidence magnificent General McArthur. 
Inexpressibly grateful President Roosevelt and American 
people. Britain and America always citadel of Liberty." 

The Council today is facing the completion of half a century 
of service. It has been diligent in pursuing its purposes and 
with a sense of deep gratitude I see it steadfast to its trust, 
"Faith and Humanity". 

In the warp and woof of my own story, the strand which 
constitutes my interest in our city stands out colorfully for 
me, but even beyond it, with the exception of those cords 
which define my personal relationships, the National Council 
of Jewish Women assumes major importance, for into it are 
woven my attitudes and aspirations as a Jewess. 


The motivation for the enterprises and activities in which 
I have engaged has come, it seems to me, from the Biblical 
injunction "to do justly and to love mercy", and through the 
Jewish concept of universal brotherhood posited upon the 
belief in one God over all. With thousands of my contempo- 
raries, I have participated in movements to improve social 
conditions, and to us continuing advancement seemed evident 
and inevitable. Men and women of good will were striving 
together toward the achievement of high and inspiring goals. 
Then, suddenly,within these last months, has come the treach- 
ery at Pearl Harbor, and America finds herself, again, at war ! 
Helpless and bewildered we see our whole concept of world 
brotherhood shaken. How dreadful! How unspeakable! 
And yet, in the clarity of perception retrospect always 
brings, how naive and irresponsible our amazement now 

It was as long ago as 1929 that I first learned that an 
anti-Semitic group in Chicago was holding meetings and 
publishing scurrilous anti-Semitic pamphlets. In great con- 
cern, I communicated with Louis Marshall, who replied: 
"The organization concerning which you have written, is af- 
filiated with the National Socialist Party of Germany which is 
under the leadership of Hitler and Ludendorf. It has become 
quite formidable and is engaged in all manner of pernicious 

activities Unfortunately, civilization has not yet reached 

that stage when fanaticism has been eradicated design- 
ing men seek to stir up hatred against fellow-men." 

Hard to believe, is it not, that more than thirteen years 
ago so obvious a menace had appeared and was recognized 
by only small isolated groups as a world menace! Then, it 
was construed by the majority as of minor import. Minor 
import! Why should anti-Semitism, one of the rungs of the 


ladder upon which the Nazi Socialist party climbed to as- 
cendency, ever have seemed of minor importance? To the 
Jew, certainly, it assumed vast proportions, even then! 

In all histories of my people, whether written by Jew or 
Christian, the woeful story of maltreatment throughout the 
centuries has been told. We Jews, who have borne persecu- 
tions patiently down the ages, have come to know how little 
they avail when our oppressors have tried to raise their stand- 
ards by elevating themselves over our dead bodies. Nowhere, 
can any nation prove a gain when it has murdered and 

What can be the answer of the Jew? Can it be other than 
that he has the same right to choose his habitation as have 
other men? Yet, persons who have no thought of justice have 
challenged that right whenever they find it to their advantage 
to rob and destroy. Can these despoilers not realize that the 
attempt to eliminate Judaism is preposterous? The religion 
of the Jew has survived, in spite of the destructive measures 
employed against it, because of its inherent rightness and fit- 
ness to exist ! It has proved its ability to adapt itself to any 
honorable environment where it could remain true to its spir- 
itual bases. The Jew has been an asset in countries whose 
underlying desire is the creation of a state of well-being for 
its citizenry, with an opportunity for the participation of all 
in its benefits. He has brought a high sense of responsibility 
and altruism to the land in which he lives, and he claims a 
right to be judged as an individual within its framework, 
rising or falling on his personal merits. 

Many have been the lasting contributions the Jew has made 
to the world. He points to his understanding of evolution in 
religion; to the development of the concept of a Higher 
Power, from a tribal god to a national god, and then to a 


realization of the Oneness of Deity which embraces the cor- 
relative of the brotherhood of man. The ethics of Judaism 
are contained in the Ten Commandments, which are basic 
in law and government. Through the Old Testament is traced 
the thought life of the ancient Jews and the evolution of their 
efforts are therein crystallized. Forms and customs that have 
come down through the years are but incidental; those which 
the Jew has preserved express his deep devotion to his fore- 
fathers and appreciation of the faithfulness with which they 
carried forward their trust. 

Most of us, today, maintain that not any one sect, or creed, 
or book holds all the truth. Many Jews and Christians now 
share a common point of view, considering religion an inter- 
pretation of life; believing in the singleness of humanity as it 
strives toward the perfecting of a human race in harmony 
with itself. If Jew and Christian, Mohammedan and Buddh- 
ist, white, black and brown, cannot live together, in accord, 
then Judaism and Christianity, with their messages of right- 
eousness, of justice and of love are both failures. But, in the 
end, right will triumph, I know, and men "shall beat their 
swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; 
nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall 
they learn war any more", and "they shall sit every man under 
his vine and under his fig-tree; and none shall make them 

Of the war, itself, I shall not write. It is a chapter I cannot 
complete. Let me think, rather, of the days to follow, praying 
that wisdom, fearlessness and honesty may guide those into 
whose hands will be given the responsibility of remaking the 
world. Behind our leaders, we must play our part, insisting 
that continued peace and justice shall be mankind's posses- 
sion, forever. The words we speak in our Synagogue come 


to me, for in my profound faith I cherish, with Judaism, the 
belief that a time will come when "the Lord shall be One 
and His name shall be One." 

"In Chicago, where I have lived eighty-four years," I 
wrote when I began this chronicle, "I have known five gene- 
rations: the pioneers among whom were numbered the con- 
temporaries of my grandparents, as well as of my parents, 
Michael and Sarah Greenebaum. There followed my own 
generation, now overtaken by those of my children and grand- 
children," How soul-satisfying that there is now still a sixth; 
that of my great-grandchildren whom I have been privileged 
to see ! I contemplate the continuance of this on-going pro- 
cession and in my thoughts life and eternity blend. As for me, 
the paths I trod were "ways of pleasantness." 

The fabric of my life is now spread out . . . the threads, 
uncut . . . the spindle not yet stilled. And through it all, 
sometimes submerged, again predominant, two golden strands 
appear and reappear . . . pointing, accenting, making strong 
the elsewise fragile stuff. Two endless golden strands . . . the 
family . . . the Council . , , back and forth they've shuttled 
through the years ! How calmly one may consider the inevit- 
able ending of one's personal pattern, buoyed by the certainty 
that thest two precious threads will yet go on. From genera- 
tion to generation they continue . . . weaving newer patterns 
. . . enriching other fabrics . . . the spindle guided, ever, by 
the Unseen Hand.